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Friday 22 November 2013

Football bodies unite to boost women's football

Premier League, FA and Football League to work with Sport England to drive up participation

West Ham United Community Sports Trust hold five-a-side tournament for to encourage female interest

The football authorities in England are joining forces for the first time with Sport England to promote grassroots football among girls and women. The Premier League, The FA and Football League will work with Sport England to provide new sessions for 14-25 year olds with professional clubs across the country through the new Women and Girls Programme.

The programme, which was announced at the annual FA Women’s Football Awards, will be based on the successful Premier League 4 Sport model, which has, since 2009, engaged more than 62,000 young people in 12 Olympic sports and has acted as a trailblazer for Sport England’s satellite club strategy.

"Premier League clubs are in a unique position to increase participation in women and girls’ football"
Richard Scudamore

This same strategy will be used by the Women and Girls programme to engage more than 6,000 female participants through community coaches from the 34 Premier League and Football League clubs on the PL4Sport programme. Since it was founded the PL4Sport programme has raised female participation levels to 37%, well above the national average.

In total, 88 clubs trusts will deliver the sessions through Level 2-qualified coaches, with each club delivering programmes and working in tandem with County FAs, schools, colleges and universities.

With an investment of more than £2.4m from Sport England over the next two years, the objective during that time is to reach more than 40,000 new female players and drive up participation figures for women’s football to the level that it is the second-largest team sport behind the men’s game, one of the key objectives of The FA’s “Game Changer” strategy.

“The aim of this programme is to increase participation in women and girls’ football, and Premier League clubs are in a unique position to do that,” Richard Scudamore, the Premier League Chief Executive, said. “Not only can they attract participants through the power of the badge, but, critically, they can deliver a quality coaching experience.

“Clubs will be able to build on the success of Premier League 4 Sport to get more individuals than ever playing our national game.”

'Great news for women's football'

Helen Grant, the Minister for Sport, called the announcement “great news” for women’s football at grassroots level.

"Many more young women will receive coaching tailored to their specific needs"
Jennie Price, Sport England

“The Premier League and Football League clubs pull in the community combined with qualified coaches from The FA will make this a great success and get many more young women playing the game,” she said.

Sport England was also pleased to be investing in the “powerful initiative” alongside the three organisations.

“The new programme will not only give many more young women the opportunity to try football, but also receive coaching tailored to their specific needs,” Jennie Price, its Chief Executive, said.

The FA’s General Secretary, Alex Horne hailed the “fantastic initiative” of the four organisations working together to promote and grow the women’s game.

“The professional clubs’ brands will attract more players and we know that qualified coaches will deliver top-class coaching sessions just where we need them,” Horne said. “It’s also a further step for us to try and deliver on the objectives we have set our ourselves over the next five years in delivering the Game Changer strategy.”

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