A £30 million cash injection from the Government and FA will build approximately 30 new state-of-the-art 3G pitches for women’s and girls’ teams in England.
The pitches – which will be delivered by the Government, the Premier League, and the Football Foundation – are to feature reserved peak-time slots, women and girls only evenings and priority booking for female teams, to drive up participation and support the demand to play whatever the motivation. The facilities will provide dedicated female changing rooms, shower facilities and accessible toilets.
The Government is providing £25 million funding, with the FA contributing £5 million, to further cement the Lionesses and Government’s shared target of inspiring more women and girls to get into sport and physical activity.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer told the-fa.com: “During the World Cup, I said that we would do everything possible to support women and girls’ football so we can watch our Lionesses roar on the world stage for generations to come. Today, along with the FA I am launching a £30 million fund to make sure the next generation of girls have equal opportunities to get into sport.
“Building on our unprecedented support for grassroots facilities, this is just the latest move in our commitment to invest in women and girls’ grassroots sport facilities, and ensure the squad’s legacy lives long into the future.”
FA CEO Mark Bullingham said: “We are delighted to work alongside DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] to commit this funding to the Football Foundation as it will make a tangible difference to women’s and girls’ football. The biggest obstacle to participation is access to pitches and this investment will provide high quality facilities in communities across the country that need them the most.
“This funding will only be made available to facilities with women’s and girls’ football provision at their core. The local pitch is where it all starts and we hope this will help women and girls from all communities and of all ages to play the sport. For some a game of football will be simply a source of happiness and health, for others it might be a competitive challenge and for a few it will be the start of a journey to the top of the game. Whatever the motivation these facilities are designed to support the players.”
England’s FIFA World Cup 2023 captain Millie Bright said: “We’re proud to have been able to give the nation a lot to cheer in the last 18 months through what we’ve achieved on the pitch but we’ve been clear we want to drive change off the pitch too.
“One of our collective biggest motivations and core values is for females across the country to have equal opportunity. We are really pleased to see the commitment towards this funding and the promise that this will be prioritised for the growth of women’s and girls’ football so whatever the motivation to play, there is a safe and accessible area for females to go to.”
Robert Sullivan, CEO of the Football Foundation said: “Thanks to the ‘Lionesses Futures Fund’ our ambition to deliver more facilities that prioritise access for women and girls to play football has been accelerated. This new fund is an exciting next step in our determination to support the rapid growth of the women and girls’ game.
“Over 8,500 women and girls’ football teams are playing at sites that have received funding from the Football Foundation, whether that be for new goalposts, improved grass pitches or brand-new changing pavilions and 3G pitches. From the roots up we want to deliver better pitches ensuring healthier lives and stronger communities. Thanks to the funding of the Government, the Premier League and the FA we will ensure every community has a great place to play.”