Karen Carney MBE to lead a major review of women’s football

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has announced that former England and Great Britain footballer Karen Carney MBE will chair an in-depth review into the future of domestic women’s football.

The review will look at how to deliver bold and sustainable growth in women’s football at elite and grassroots levels. This will be with a particular focus on:

  • Assess the potential audience reach and growth of the game, by considering the value and visibility of women’s and women’s football in England, including the potential to increase the fanbase of women’s football and whether current growth still supports local talent and it can be done. without overloading the infrastructure.

  • Examine the financial health of the game and its long-term financial sustainability. This will include exploring opportunities and ways to support the marketing of women’s football, broadcast revenue opportunities and sponsorship of women’s football.

  • Examining the structures within women’s football. This includes membership in men’s teams, prize money, the need for women’s football to adhere to the administrative requirements of men’s football; and assess the adequacy, quality, accessibility and prevalence of facilities available for women’s and women’s football for the growth and sustainability of the game.

To kick off the review, the Football Association (FA) will launch a call for tests in the coming weeks.

Carney will lead a series of breakout sessions with industry experts across the country. She will be supported in the collection and analysis of evidence by senior officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the FA. A full report is expected to be published early next year, with the government responding formally soon after.

The news comes after Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses won UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 in July, a series of government measures to support women’s football, and ahead of the Women’s Super League season that starts on September 10.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

The spectacular performance of the Lionesses shows how far we have come at the top of women’s football. While it’s right for us to celebrate and reflect on that success, we need an equal emphasis on improving engagement, employment opportunities, business investment, and media visibility.

We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of team sport and that a strong infrastructure is in place to support women’s and girls’ football in the future. A thorough review of the game will help ensure it’s here for the long haul.

Karen Carney MBE said:

In recent years, the game has grown significantly and at a fast pace. Of course, this is an exciting time, but there is an urgent need to ensure that processes and structures are in place to protect the interests of the game and the people who work on it. I have always said that sport must be built on solid foundations in order to achieve lasting success in a sustainable way.

For me, this is a defining period for the sport and this review will be at the core of that.

We must capitalize on these powerful moments and we can look back on 2022 as a year where we made great strides in growing the game.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

We have made it clear that we are behind the growth of women’s and women’s sport in all aspects, from the grassroots to the elite level.

National women’s football has made significant progress in recent years. However, the pandemic has highlighted the shallow resources within the elite game, which have the potential to affect its long-term growth.

This review will take an in-depth look at how to grow the game to the elite and grassroots level, as we move to level the playing field.

During his career, Carney made 144 appearances for England and represented Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics. He enjoyed a club career with Arsenal, Chicago Red Stars, Birmingham City and Chelsea. She is now a respected voice in men’s and women’s football and works as a broadcaster and columnist for The Guardian, ITV Sport and Sky Sports, in addition to her role as a sponsorship consultant for Visa.

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Women’s football has made significant progress in recent years, with UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 highlighting changing attitudes towards women’s sport. Records were broken, with a record global audience of over 365 million people, 574,875 tickets sold, nearly half of all ticket holders female, and almost 100,000 children. Wherever the Lionesses played, tickets were sold out and the final broke the all-time attendance record for a EURO final, in both the men’s and women’s categories.

The launch of the Women’s Super League in 2011 spawned a wave of bespoke sponsorship and broadcast rights deals. England’s senior men and women players now receive the same match fee for representing their country, and clubs at the top two tiers of domestic football are introducing better contracts and employment rights.

In another long-term boost to the visibility of women’s football, the Government recently confirmed that the FIFA Women’s World Cup and Women’s European Championship have been added to the listed events regime, meaning they will continue to be available for free-to. -Air television stations.

At grassroots level, it has become the most played women’s and girls’ team sport in England, with 3 million registered players and 12,000 registered teams. The government is putting the game at the heart of its plans to improve access to sport for all, with a £230 million package to be put in place to build or upgrade up to 8,000 grassroots and multi-sport pitches across the UK by 2025. This funding began in March with an initial investment of £25 million benefiting more than 170 installations. Following the EURO 2022 final, the Culture Secretary also announced that some of these facilities will be named after the 23 players in and around each of their respective cities or locations that shaped their football careers, in honor of their achievements. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government supported women’s football. It provided £2.9m in grants to the Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship to cover essential costs and enable their seasons to be completed through the Sport Survival Package, but there were still delays in the return of the competition compared to the men’s game. due to lack of investment by football authorities in COVID-19 testing for women’s football. Spectators also took longer to return, several sponsorship deals were withdrawn, and several clubs experienced financial difficulties.

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The fan-led review of soccer governance for men’s professional soccer recommended an overhaul of the women’s game. Those who gave testimony highlighted the need for women’s football to be properly funded, including the commercialization of women’s football, opportunities for the game to benefit from broadcast revenue, and the implementation of a stronger administrative structure. Concerns were also raised that the sport had failed to maintain its own popularity and there was a danger that the demand might not be met.


Notes to editors:

  • The terms of reference for the national women’s football review are here.

  • The women’s football review will not focus on elements that are shared with the fan-led football governance review, such as club heritage, owner and manager testing, club financial sustainability and regulation. independent, as results of the review of the fans. The targeted review will apply to women’s football in the same way.

  • The fan-led review of football governance recommended that “given the many, but interconnected, issues affecting a significant future for women’s football that need to be addressed and successfully resolved… women’s football should be treated with parity and receive their own specific review. He stated that “there is great potential for the game to grow further, but for this to become a reality, serious investment is needed in women’s football, in its finances, in its infrastructure and in the administration of the game.” The Government’s full response can be found here.

  • The Government’s Sports Survival Package has provided millions of pounds to protect the future of women’s football, netball, rugby, badminton and basketball over the course of the pandemic. This is in addition to sports clubs and bodies benefiting from the multi-million dollar package of government support that has been made available to the sector. See more details on women’s football here and here.

  • The Government contributed 4.6 million pounds sterling for the celebration of EURO 2022.

  • Further details on the implementation of reforms to ensure the long-term sustainability of men’s football will be published in due course through a white paper.

  • The European Women’s Championship was one of several high-profile sporting events to be held in the UK in the coming months that will put women’s sport center stage. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games were the first major multi-sport event in history to feature more women’s medal events than men’s. The second edition of The Hundred is now underway (after the first was the most watched women’s sports competition on TV in 2021), and the World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool and the Rugby League World Cup in October and November (where the men’s, women’s and wheelchair events will be played simultaneously) will take place later this year, further boosting the UK’s credentials as the destination of choice for the world’s major sporting events.

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