Borough gets share of £1m pot to boost women's football

National Lottery funding is being allocated to the towns and cities hosting the UEFA Women's Euros 2022 tournament.
Funding for grassroots women's football in the borough has been announcedFunding for grassroots women's football in the borough has been announced
Funding for grassroots women's football in the borough has been announced

Wigan and Leigh is expected to receive around £100,000 to be ploughed into grassroots and recreational,football for women.

This, it is hoped, will capitalise on the expected upsurge in interest when the continent's best female players and teams battle it out for silverware in 2022.

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A number of matches will be staged at the Leigh Sports Village (LSV).

Leader of Wigan Council, Coun David Molyneux, said: “The UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament will be a showpiece event for creating a long-lasting legacy that gets young girls becoming active and inspired by some of the world’s best female athletes.

“As one of nine host destinations, we are incredibly proud that Wigan Borough will be playing its part and the council wants to ensure that new teams and facilities are created and lots more girls are encouraged to take part.

“This investment from Sport England should go a long way in making sure these hopes become a reality within our borough and across the UK.”

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Legacy groups have been set up in the places hosting the tournament, bringing together sports clubs and organisations, councils, public health authorities and bodies working in education and culture.

It is hoped the funding will get more women involved in playing football, with the efforts led by female Playmakers following the Football Association's (FA) work setting up new entry-level courses for volunteers.

A pilot programme is also expected to be run to encourage parents and carers of girls aged five to 11 taking part in the FA's Wildcats scheme to consider getting their trainers or boots on and giving football a go themselves.

Figures from around the 2019 Women's World Cup showed there was a significant increase in women playing football after the tournament.

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Overall, 460,000 more women aged 25 or over were playing football after the World Cup than before.

The UEFA Women’s Euro was initially due to be played in summer 2021. However, following the Covid-19 pandemic the tournament was rescheduled and will now take place from July 6 to 31, 2022.

Phil Smith, Sport England director of sport, said: “Euro 22 will be a significant and exciting event, and we are delighted to be working with The FA to use it to grow the women’s game. We believe a ‘place-based approach’ – working with local stakeholders to develop a recreational football programme for the right place, at the right time - can be instrumental in making this happen and ultimately developing women’s and girls’ football in England.

"We know the tournament will excite the fans and the public, so we want to use that excitement to support even more women and girls to start playing.”

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Louise Gear, The FA’s head of women’s football development, said: “UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 is set to be a record-breaking tournament, and one which offers us huge opportunity both to continue building the profile of women’s football and to inspire more women and girls to get involved in the game.

“As we approach two years to go until the showpiece final takes place at Wembley Stadium, we are delighted that Sport England has announced this significant investment.

"By supporting the development plans of our dedicated host cities, we hope that we can build on the energy and excitement that comes from a home Euros to turn these regions into hubs for increased activity and opportunity in the wake of the tournament."