The Government is to launch an in-depth review of women’s football at both elite and grassroots level in a bid to achieve greater parity with the men’s game.
Sports minister Nigel Huddleston has confirmed that an independently-chaired study, which was recommended in MP Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review of football governance published last November, will look at the way forward with particular focus on commercialisation, spectator support and media interest.
The findings are expected by the end of a year during which England is to host the Women’s Euro 2022 finals.
Huddleston said: “Women’s football is a growing force. The 2019 World Cup captured the hearts and minds of the nation, and with greater participation, employment and visibility in the media, I am confident that Euro 2022 will inspire more women and girls to get into our national game as we work towards parity across all sport.
“Despite these positive signs for the game, it is clear that an assessment of the value of the women’s and girl’s game is needed, to ensure it is properly financed for the long-term.
“The time is right for a thorough review of the women’s game to ensure all is being done to support its further growth.”
The Government also confirmed that the Women’s World Cup and European Women’s Championship finals have been added to Group A of the listed events regime. That means those tournaments, along with the men’s equivalents and events such as the FA Cup and Scottish FA Cup finals, Grand National and Wimbledon, are shown on free-to-air television.
The BBC’s coverage of the 2019 Women’s World Cup was watched by a record-breaking 28.1million people across the UK with 11.7million tuning in for England’s semi-final clash with the United States alone.
The thriving Women’s Super League has generated lucrative sponsorship and broadcast deals, while at grassroots level, football has become the most played sport by women and girls with England boasting three million registered players and 12,000 teams.
However, both the fan-led review into the men’s game and the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the lack of resources in women’s football – Championship side Coventry United Ladies entered voluntary liquidation in December last year – and the limits that could impose on its future growth.
The review’s announcement comes ahead of a summer of high-profile women’s football in this country with England and Northern Ireland going head-to-head in Group A as Sarina Wiegman’s team attempts to claim the Euro 2022 title on home soil between July 6 and 31.
Published: by Radio NewsHub