Karen Carney appoints expert panel to review women’s football

Former England player Karen Carney
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Karen Carney has appointed an expert panel to support a major review of women’s football, launched by UK Government.

Ian Wright and Hope Powell will advise a review looking at ways to boost participation and strengthen the commercial standing of women’s football in the UK.

Representatives from the NFL, the Women in Football group, sports business administrators and campaigners have also been appointed by review chair Karen Carney.

Carney was commissioned by the UK government to look at the state of the women’s professional game, from the grassroots to the elite level, following a recommendation in the fan-led review of football governance.

Carney has spent the last six months gathering evidence and today’s appointment of a panel of football and commercial experts will help shape the recommendations her review will make to the government. The review is expected to be published in the summer.

Carney announced the panel as she met with Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes to discuss the review’s progress, early findings and get her views on the state of the domestic game.

Other appointees include Jane Purdon, chair of the Professional Game Academy Audit Company and director of the Women in Football group. She is a former director of governance at the Premier League and co-authored the Code for Sports Governance in 2016.

Brett Gosper, head of Europe and UK for the National Football League (NFL) and a former CEO of World Rugby, will advise on how to improve the fan experience. Dan Jones, a former global lead partner for sports business at Deloitte, will examine the commercial and financial model of the women’s professional club game.

Lisa O’Keefe is the secretary general of the International Working Group on Women and Sport. A former director of insight at Sport England, O’Keefe helped deliver the widely acclaimed ‘This Girl Can’ campaign which has successfully persuaded nearly four million women to get active since its launch in 2015. She will look at how to improve grassroots participation.

Karen Carney MBE said:

For this review, it was important to me to get the advice and support of experts across various fields, from sport to business. So I’m really pleased that Hope, Ian, Jane, Brett, Dan and Lisa have come on board. Their experience, expertise and understanding of the world of sport will be incredibly valuable as we set out our recommendations for the growth of the game. Best of all, I know they share my ambition to make the UK one of the best places in the world to play, watch and invest in women’s football.

Ian Wright MBE said:

We have such an amazing opportunity to ensure what Karen, Kelly Smith, Hope Powell and the generation of women and girls including our Euros winners went through never happens again. We can build this right from the bottom to the very top. Football gave me everything and should be for everyone. So I’m here to play my part, give my experience, my insights, my platform, and ultimately make sure that something tangible comes of this. Karen knows I’m ready to go.

former Brighton manager Hope Powell
Hope Powell. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Hope Powell CBE said:

I am delighted to be part of the DCMS review panel of experts for women’s football, chaired by Karen. It gives us the opportunity to check, challenge and discuss the progression of women’s football, and share our opinions and recommendations that we hope will be considered to further progress the game in this country.

Jane Purdon said:

I’m delighted to be working with Karen. We have an incredible opportunity to grow the women’s game. That’s why it is fantastic that the review is going to do a deep dive into all the big issues we need to resolve in order to take our game forwards. I’ve worked in football for 20 years – for a Premier League club, for the Premier League itself, and most recently as the CEO of Women in Football. Throughout I’ve had a focus on governance issues and the role of women in our national game. That’s the expertise I’ll be bringing to the review.

Lisa O’Keefe said:

From grassroots right through to elite level, the growth of football for women and girls in this country is providing a magnificent opportunity to increase sporting opportunities at every level.  All these foundations need to be built on sustainably and it is hugely exciting to be part of such an expert review team to help ensure we can do that.

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