The FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football: 2017-2020

                                                                   • DOUBLE PARTICIPATION
                                                                   • DOUBLE FANS
                                                                   • CONSISTENT SUCCESS
                                                                      ON THE WORLD STAGE
                                                                     GOAL                           TARGET
                                                                     Double participation           Increase number of registered teams from 6,000 to 12,000

                                                                     Double fans                    Increase attendances:
                                                                                                    • International matches 11,000 to 22,000
                                                                                                    • FA WSL average 1,047 to 2,020
                                                                                                    Increase peak viewing - FA WSL 46,000 to 92,000
The FA’s Vision and Mission                                          Consistent success             Within top three countries across all age groups
                                                                     on the world stage             Potential to win 2023 FIFA World Cup
Unite the game. Inspire the nation.
Rebuild The FA as a world-class organisation                        Source FA strategic plan 2016

2 | The FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football: 2017-2020
‘Let’s set a new football benchmark’                                                                                               ‘Time to realise our potential’
                                                          Women’s football is the biggest single     I am proud that on the back of well-           tomorrow’s generation of girls to take   This is the time to build on all the great      get schools, clubs, Further Education,        with a clear pathway to the very top of
                                                          opportunity for us to grow our game.       targeted investment and capacity-              up the game, here and overseas.          work done by the women’s football               Higher Education, community                   the game and enables our best players
                                                          This strategy will ensure we grasp that    building in recent years, women’s                                                       pioneers and move the game to the               organisations and our County FAs              to excel on a world stage, as well as
                                                          opportunity. By doubling the reach of      football in England now stands                 In the meantime, whatever your role      next level.                                     to work together to drive change.             have a parallel education programme
                                                          women’s football, from the grassroots to   comparison with the world’s best.              or remit in football, we’d love you on                                                                                                 to support their wellbeing and ensure
                                                          the elite, we will transform an emerging   But I am also determined that we can           board as we seek to create a diverse,    So much has been achieved at the                We know that girls have many                  they also achieve in life.
                                                          sport, and we will embed it alongside      achieve more than parity – I believe the       sustainable and successful women’s       grassroots and international levels             motivations to play – fun, friendship,
                                                          men’s football in the heart and mind of    time is right to take it to a higher level –   game for today and the future.           through the determination, courage              fitness and family – and we need              Our third place finish in the last
                                                          our nation’s favourite game.               to set a new football benchmark.               Doubling its reach, transforming         and commitment of individuals but so            to ensure the way we promote and              FIFA World Cup was a remarkable
                                                                                                                                                    women’s football in England, setting     much more can be done if we all work            deliver our programmes embraces               achievement but we are setting an
                                                          The global game of football had its        This strategy sets out how we intend           a new football benchmark, will not       together as one team with one clear             these differences. This increase in           even more ambitious target for 2023.
                                                          genesis on these islands. The original     to do that, and as we have done in the         be easy. It is, though, an opportunity   overarching plan.                               opportunities will only be possible if        To achieve this we will be working
                                                          Laws of the Game were codified here.       men’s game over the years, we also             worth grasping.                                                                          we grow the quality and quantity of           tirelessly with the clubs in The FA
                                                          Since then, the infrastructure around      want to play our role to the full on the                                                We need to change perceptions and               men and women from all backgrounds            Women’s Super League to create a
                                                          the game in England has become the         international stage, helping promote                                                    social barriers to participation, create        who wish to coach and referee the             vision for the women’s game that is
                                                          blueprint for many football governing      the sport everywhere, as inclusive for                                                  a strong, inclusive and engaging brand          girls and women’s game at community           mutually-supportive and will be the
                                                          bodies, national and international.        everyone. Where we can, we would love                                                   and raise the profile of the game for the       level. But we also need to ensure that        envy of the world.
                                                          For the vast majority of the last 150      to lend our experience to other countries                                               serious player and the casual participant.      women with the aspiration and desire
                                                          years, the focus has been almost           just starting on this exciting journey. A      Greg Clarke                              We want to welcome every girl and               to work at the top of the game get the        The time is right and the time is NOW!
                                                          exclusively on the men’s game. But         rising global tide for the development of      Chairman, The Football Association       woman in to the game regardless of              development, placements and support
                                                          times, societies and attitudes move on     a global women’s game.                                                                  ability, background or age. There has           that will help them fulfil their potential.
                                                          and we have been too slow to react.                                                                                                never been a more important time for
                                                          Whilst competitor nations, like the USA    One key way of fulfilling this pledge is                                                football to play its part in supporting girls   All of this work will be underpinned by
                                                          and Germany, led the way in investing      to host a major international women’s                                                   and women to become physically active           our commitment to supporting fun and
                                                          in and supporting women’s football,        tournament in the next few years. We                                                    and to lead and administer the game.            safe participation at every level.            Baroness Sue Campbell
                                                          we watched on. But we are no longer        are currently looking at the feasibility                                                                                                Finally, we want to build a world-            Head of Women’s Football,
                                                          spectators to the global growth of the     of doing just that as we have no doubt                                                  Our ambition is to double participation         leading, high-performance system that         The Football Association
                                                          women’s game.                              it would be a truly inspiring moment for                                                by 2020 which will only be possible if we       provides all talented young people

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Page         Contents

                                                            08         The vision for the women’s and girls’ game

                                                       10           Our eight priorities

                                                  12              Priority
                                                                 Build a sustainable and successful high-performance system

                                             14          Priority
                                                        Build a world-class talent pipeline

                                        16          Priority
                                                   Increase the number and diversity of women coaching, refereeing and administering

                                   20           Priority
                                               Develop participation opportunities and infrastructure

                              22         Priority
                                        Change perceptions and social barriers to participation and following

                         24         Priority
                                   Increase the profile of the England team and players

                    26         Priority
                              Signpost opportunities to participate, watch or follow

               28          Priority
                          Improve commercial prospects in women’s football

          30           Key partners in the women’s game

     32             Bringing it all together

34             For more information
The vision for the women’s and girls’ game:

                                                                   How the women’s game will demonstrate The FA’s values:

Whether competitively or                                           Progressive: We believe it is time for
                                                                   the women’s game in this country to
                                                                                                              Inclusive: We believe football should
                                                                                                              be fun, safe and accessible for every
                                                                                                                                                           Excellent: We will work together to
                                                                                                                                                           ensure all players have an excellent

recreationally, to be the no.1
                                                                   realise its full potential.                girl and woman, embracing our multi-         experience. We will support those with
                                                                                                              faceted society with its range of            the aspiration to achieve their potential
                                                                   Respectful: We want to build on the        cultures, faiths and abilities. That’s       to realise their dreams, represent their
                                                                   success of the many people across the      whether they wish to participate,            country and compete successfully with

team sport of choice for every
                                                                   country working hard for the women’s       compete, coach, referee or play their        the best in the world.
                                                                   game. In doing so, we will harness their   part on boards at club, county and
                                                                   experience, listen to their views          national levels, whether in a voluntary      This strategy document sets out how
                                                                   and provide solutions to drive the         or paid capacity.                            we plan to exhibit these values through

girl and woman in England
                                                                   game forward.                                                                           the priority areas we have identified.
                                                                                                              Determined: We believe that with the
                                                                                                              right vision and strong determination
                                                                                                              we can overcome all challenges.

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Our eight priorities                                                                                                                              The FA in numbers
                                                                                                                                                  2016 - 2017 season

                                                                                                                                                                                                          TOTAL NUMBER
To create a World Cup-winning England                               Build a sustainable and successful      Build a world-class talent pipeline                                                            OF PLAYERS

senior team and double the player and
fan bases, eight priority areas of work
                                                                    high-performance system
have been set:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         AFFILIATED
These priorities provide tangible focus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      TEAMS TOTAL
for everyone working in the women and
girls’ football sector at The FA – and the
game’s wider football workforce.                                    Increase the number and diversity       Develop participation                   6.46M                                      2.05M             2.44M              900,000 24,315                     1,544                            31,683
                                                                                                            opportunities and infrastructure        MEN                                        WOMEN             BOYS               GIRLS
It means everyone knows their
                                                                    of women coaching, refereeing and
individual work is part of a collective                             administering the sport at all levels
drive. Everyone’s contribution – no                                                                                                                                                                                                                  AFFILIATED        AFFILIATED                       AFFILIATED
matter how small – really matters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   MEN’S TEAMS       WOMEN’S TEAMS                    BOYS’ TEAMS

                                                                    Change perceptions and                  Enhance the profile of the England                                                                   48,017                              3,504             25,917                           2,066
                                                                    social barriers to participation        team and players                                                                                     DISABLED                                              AFFILIATED                       DISABLED
                                                                    and following                                                                   TOTAL                                      TOTAL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 PLAYERS            22,165                             YOUTH                            TEAMS
                                                                                                                                                                                               FEMALE                               TOTAL                              SOCCER
                                                                                                                                                    8.9M                                       2.9M                                 AFFILIATED
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     GIRLS’ TEAMS

                                                                    Signpost opportunities to               Improve the commercial prospects
                                                                    participate, watch or follow            in women’s football                                                                                                    WOMEN’S GAME
                                                                                                                                                    1,128                                      130,000 63,000                                        45,619                                             £238,650
                                                                                                                                                    AVERAGE WSL1                              TOOK PART          PEAK               AUDIENCE         RECORD                                             SSE WOMEN’S
                                                                                                                                                    ATTENDANCE                                IN THE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 FIGURES WSL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BBC WOMEN’S
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    FOOTBALL SHOW
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ENGLAND v
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       259                              FA CUP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    785,000                            ENTRIES TO
                                                                                                                                                                                              FOOTBALL           LIVE GAMES                          GERMANY                                            FUND
                                                                                                                                                                                              WEEKS              ON BT SPORT                                           SSE WOMEN’S
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       FA CUP
                                                                                                                                                  1 Source: AMS group - BARB viewing figures March 2016
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Build a sustainable                                                                                              To achieve this priority, we will:
and successful high-                                                                  ‘The senior England      • Appoint a Head of Performance, to:         • Develop strong partnerships with

performance system                                                                     women’s team was
                                                                                                                 • Build the entire system,
                                                                                                                   encompassing the FA WSL1
                                                                                                                                                              FA WSL1 and FA WSL2 clubs, by:
                                                                                                                                                              • Renewing FA WSL licences with
                                                                                                                   and FA WSL2.                                 FAWSL clubs that meet the criteria
                                                                                        outstanding at the     • Create a well-rounded ‘England
                                                                                                                                                                and supporting those who join
                                                                                                                                                                through promotion;
The elite level of the women’s game has developed rapidly over the last few years.    2015 FIFA Women’s          experience’, by:
                                                                                                                 • Providing players in the England             • Drawing up tailored partnership-
The FA Women’s Super League (The FA WSL) has been established. Full -time            World Cup in Canada,          senior team and all age-group
                                                                                                                   teams with world-class coaching,
                                                                                                                                                                  funding agreements which ensure
                                                                                                                                                                  effective management, improved
England coaches have been appointed at senior and youth levels. There is greater
broadcast coverage and central contracts have been introduced. The senior England          finishing third.’       sports science and sports medicine
                                                                                                                   services, as well as individual
                                                                                                                                                                  marketing and high-quality player
                                                                                                                                                                  development. The agreements
women’s team was outstanding at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada,
finishing third.                                                                                                   lifestyle and wellbeing support.               will also deliver centralised
                                                                                                                                                                  professional development to
                                                                                                               • Develop a ’winning edge’ at the
The challenge is to build on these foundations. We need to create a world-leading,                                                                                support club personnel.
                                                                                                                 game’s elite level, by:
high-performance system for the women’s game with the player at the heart of it.                                 • Establishing a high-performance
                                                                                                                   multi-sport technical group.
A new focus for existing resources and some additional funding will be required to
create the world-class system required to achieve our ambitions.                                               • Review the competition pyramid
                                                                                                                 and define the role and purpose of
                                                                                                                 each level (from The FA WSL to the
                                                                                                                 County Leagues), by:
                                                                                                                 • Agreeing each level’s remit
                                                                                                                   and responsibilities in relation
                                                                                                                   to player development and/or
                                                                                                                   recreational participation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          girls’ football

Build a world-class                                                                                                 To achieve this priority, we will:
talent pipeline                                                                           ‘England women’s        • Ensure every talented player in
                                                                                                                    England has access to the talent
                                                                                               senior team is       pathway, and the opportunity to
                                                                                                                    develop within it, by:
Right now, the England women’s senior team is occupying its highest-ranking to
date in world football: no.5.1 This is a great achievement but we want to build on     occupying its highest-       • Providing high-quality coaching
this and improve our ranking at every age group.
                                                                                           ranking to date in         and performance support at every
                                                                                                                      pathway level;
This will require a seamless talent pathway to allow our diverse and talented
players to be developed and nurtured every step of the way. This talent pipeline         world football: no.5.’     • Ensuring every player can
                                                                                                                      access a dual career pathway
will be supported by the best coaches, sports science and sports medicine. We
                                                                                                                      alongside football.
will also ensure that the highest standards of welfare and safeguarding are in
place for every player.                                                                                           • Establish a comprehensive
                                                                                                                    competition structure to support
Alongside our provision for the development of our talent we want to build a                                        player development, by:
comprehensive education programme to ensure that no young person has to                                             • Providing clear profiles for players
abandon their education to achieve their dream. This dual career of football and                                      and coaches, whilst exploring
education/work will be key to the health of our game.                                                                 talent transfer.
We want to develop the confidence of younger players to play at international level                               • Create 10 FA Women’s High-
and embed a playing style that is common to all sides. This means transition to the                                 Performance Centres to support
next age group – and ultimately to the senior side – holds no surprises. Players can                                player and coach development, by:
slot into a winning formula that runs throughout our international teams.                                           • Inviting universities to apply for
                                                                                                                      selection as one of these Centres;
                                                                                                                    • Ensuring a nationwide spread
                                                                                                                      that captures players from
                                                                                                                      all communities;
                                                                                                                    • Providing ongoing
                                                                                                                      quality assurance.

1 Source: FIFA December 2016

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Increase the number and                                                                                                  To achieve this priority, we will:
diversity of women coaching,                                                                      ‘We must encourage   • Develop our coach development                  • Develop our refereeing structure, by:

refereeing and administering                                                                        and support more
                                                                                                                         structure, by:
                                                                                                                         • Appointing a Head of Women’s
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appointing a Women’s Refereeing
                                                                                                                                                                            Manager. They will develop a

the sport at all levels                                                                                                     Coach Development to lead                       supportive pathway to recruit,
                                                                                                      women from all        the recruitment, retention and                  train, deploy and mentor more
                                                                                                                            deployment of more women                        women and men to referee at
                                                                                                        backgrounds’        coaches across all levels of                    every level of the women’s game;
                                                                                                                            the game;                                       • Providing a comprehensive
Effective leadership is imperative to deliver meaningful strategic change.                                               • Appointing 10 Coach Development                    education and training
                                                                                                                           Officers based in The FA Women’s                   programme for all referees (male
We must encourage and support more women from all backgrounds, to enter                                                    High-Performance Centres to                        and female) to ensure that the
coaching, refereeing and wider leadership roles within the game. Coaching and                                              work in collaboration with the                     officiating of the women’s game is
refereeing in the women’s game should be a prized and rewarding experience for                                             County FAs, FA WSL clubs, FA                       of the highest standard.
men and women.                                                                                                             Charter Standard clubs, colleges             • Encourage more women to
                                                                                                                           and schools. The aim is to recruit,            administer or serve as board
The governance of the game at every level will benefit considerably from the                                               train and mentor more women and
inclusion of more women on boards. Over the past 15 years business research has                                                                                           members, by:
                                                                                                                           men to work in grassroots girls and
consistently demonstrated that competent diverse boards create better, more                                                                                               • Harnessing The FA’s ‘State of Play’
                                                                                                                           women’s programmes;
successful businesses1.                                                                                                                                                     equality monitoring tool to:
                                                                                                                         • Developing a foundation
                                                                                                                                                                            • Identify strategic actions,
                                                                                                                           qualification for ‘football activators’
                                                                                                                                                                              (e.g. the creation of leadership
                                                                                                                           to encourage more people to lead
                                                                                                                                                                              programmes) to ensure board
                                                                                                                           and volunteer in grassroots girls’
                                                                                                                                                                              members are effective and
                                                                                                                           and women’s football.
                                                                                                                                                                            • Identify diverse talented
                                                                                                                                                                              women, who can add competence
                                                                                                                                                                              and different perspectives at
                                                                                                                                                                              board level.

1 Women Matter: Gender Diversity, A Corporate Performance Driver, P.3, McKinsey & Co. 2007

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Develop participation                                                                                          To achieve this priority, we will:
opportunities                                                                            ‘To increase the    • Develop localised women’s football        • Launch an introductory programme                    increase of girls transitioning from

and infrastructure                                                                         take-up of the
                                                                                                               strategies, by:
                                                                                                               • Requesting a localised CFA-
                                                                                                                  developed inclusive workforce plan
                                                                                                                                                           for voluntary organisations and
                                                                                                                                                           create start-up clubs in areas of
                                                                                                                                                           deprivation, by:
                                                                                                                                                                                                               school into community provision;
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Launching a new curriculum-
                                                                                                                                                                                                              based football programme to be
                                                                                       game by girls and          to support more girls and women
                                                                                                                  to volunteer, coach, referee and
                                                                                                                                                           • Introducing a fun , entry-level                  embedded in PE lessons – focused
                                                                                                                                                             programme of resources,
Over the years, The FA has developed many participation-based initiatives and
programmes in schools, colleges, universities and the community.
                                                                                       women, we need             administer women’s football;               equipment and training for
                                                                                                                                                                                                              on the importance of teamwork
                                                                                                                                                                                                              and character development;
                                                                                                                                                             voluntary organisations to
                                                                                            one coherent       • Creating a club toolkit for all clubs
                                                                                                                 and other providers to ensure a safe,       motivate and inspire girls to play             • Introducing a ‘Football Youth
To increase the take-up of the game by girls and women, we need one coherent                                                                                                                                  Sport Award’ for secondary-school
strategy that maximises the impact of all this work. The central aim must be to             strategy that        girl/women-friendly environment.            football for the first time;
                                                                                                                                                           • Creating an incentive-fund to
                                                                                                                                                                                                              pupils. The Award will encourage
ensure every young girl has the opportunity to experience our great game.                                      • Providing appropriate training and                                                           participation, leadership
                                                                                           maximises the         support for people working with             encourage the development of                     development and community
Some will need a sign-posted pathway from their first taste of the game through to                                                                           sustainable new clubs in targeted                volunteering.
the highest competitive level. Others will prefer a more recreational opportunity to         impact of all       female players.
                                                                                                                                                             areas of deprivation. These clubs

                                                                                               this work.’
play with friends, have fun or simply keep fit.                                                                                                              are to attract new participants into
                                                                                                             • Create a national network of                                                             • Invest in Further and Higher
                                                                                                                                                             the game working, in partnership
                                                                                                               programmes for girls to take up                                                            Education, by:
This can only be achieved through programmes based on individual player needs                                                                                with community groups;
                                                                                                               and continue to play football, by:                                                         • Supporting Further and Higher
and motivations. It requires linked opportunities in education and the community                                                                           • Launching a ‘football activator’
                                                                                                               • Working with the CFAs to identify                                                          Education ‘football activators’ to
for as wide a range of participants as possible.                                                                                                             qualification for leaders to support
                                                                                                                 partner organisations equipped to                                                          provide innovative strategies to
                                                                                                                 develop customised, local, safe and         them in the organisation, planning             reach a more diverse audience and
                                                                                                                 girl-friendly football programmes           and delivery of inclusive football             encourage greater participation in
                                                                                                                 for primary-school age girls;               sessions for novice players;                   different football formats;
                                                                                                               • Establishing clear criteria around                                                         • Developing more female student
                                                                                                                 the operation and leadership            • Create new programmes for                          leaders, apprentices, coaches and
                                                                                                                 of these activities – focused on          primary and secondary schools, by:                 referees to work in student sport
                                                                                                                 friends, fun, fitness and family;         • Developing playground-fun                        and in the wider community;
                                                                                                                                                             activity resources for primary                 • Develop a research programme
                                                                                                               • Ensuring clear exit routes into
                                                                                                                                                             schools to complement the                        across The FA Women’s High-
                                                                                                                 ‘girl-friendly’ clubs for a) those
                                                                                                                                                             Premier League ‘Primary Stars’                   Performance Centres to inform and
                                                                                                                 who wish to play more competitive
                                                                                                                                                             curriculum initiative;                           investigate innovative solutions to
                                                                                                                 football and b) suitable recreational
                                                                                                                 opportunities for those who               • Introducing a schools based                      the challenges we face.
                                                                                                                 want to play for fun, fitness and           programme to support the
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Change perceptions                                                                                                     To achieve this priority, we will:
and social barriers to                                                                             ‘We need to       • Create an engaging brand                      • Use influencers and advocates

participation and following                                                                         continue to
                                                                                                                       proposition and narrative to attract
                                                                                                                       young girls to football, by:
                                                                                                                       • Using research and insights to
                                                                                                                                                                       to change perceptions, by:
                                                                                                                                                                       • Building a diverse team of
                                                                                                                                                                          girls’ football advocates
                                                                                                      challenge          develop and create distinct brands               and influencers;
                                                                                                                         for girls’ and women’s specific
Stereotypes are hard to break. Particularly ones embedded over generations.                        perceptions.          programmes;
                                                                                                                                                                         • Developing inclusive content
                                                                                                                                                                           to challenge perceptions;
That’s why it’s taken a long time for women’s football to gain the acceptance level            We’ll do this by        • Supporting the girls’ participation
                                                                                                                         programmes with appropriate
                                                                                                                                                                         • Accessing mainstream
it currently enjoys. But there is so much more to do.                                                                                                                      celebrities through new
                                                                                                presenting the           marketing collateral for
                                                                                                                         communication to girls, their
                                                                                                                                                                           commercial partnerships;
If we are to achieve our aims to get more women and girls playing the game –
and more people watching it – we need to continue to challenge perceptions.                 reality of women’s           parents, carers and teachers from
                                                                                                                         all backgrounds;
                                                                                                                                                                         • Using social media to develop
                                                                                                                                                                           messaging to reach younger
We’ll do this by presenting the reality of women’s and girls’ football.
                                                                                             and girls’ football.’     • Raising the profile of the Lionesses
It’s fun, it’s easy to play, it keeps you fit – and is a great way of making new friends,                                and FAWSL players to create
as well as learning teamwork and communications skills.                                                                  diverse role models who inspire girls       • Make the women’s game
                                                                                                                         to play football.                             affordable and accessible for
We also need to highlight the personal stories of our elite players – and use the                                                                                      families, by:
power of influencers via social media to talk to girls in ways that make sense.                                                                                        • Promoting The FAWSL as the
                                                                                                                     • Co-ordinate messaging and
                                                                                                                       promotions across existing and                     affordable/accessible entry point
But it’s not just girls to whom we need to appeal. Crucially, it’s their parents, carers                                                                                  for families into football:
                                                                                                                       new partners and stakeholders, by:
and teachers, many of whom may still operate by the stereotypes we need to dispel.
To effect this cultural change, we are employing a dedicated Head of Marketing and                                     • Encouraging all stakeholders                    • Building the SSE Women’s FA
Commercial (women’s football), with support from around the organisation.                                                to consider looking at football                   Cup and particularly the Final as
                                                                                                                         ‘through a women’s lens;                          the ultimate event ticket in the
                                                                                                                                                                           women’s domestic calendar;
                                                                                                                       • Working with commercial partners
                                                                                                                         to amplify the narrative of women’s             • Positioning women’s matches as
                                                                                                                         and girls’ football across the variety            friendly and sociable with good
                                                                                                                         of audiences and channels;                        player accessibility.
                                                                                                                       • Securing new and innovative
                                                                                                                         commercial partnerships for
                                                                                                                         women’s and girls’ football.

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Increase profile of the                                                                                          To achieve this priority, we will:
England team and players                                                                   ‘Players at elite   • Build the Lioness brand into one of             • Engage and encourage commercial
                                                                                                                 the iconic national team brands, by:              partners and broadcasters to
                                                                                        level are uniquely       • Creating an integrated marketing,
                                                                                                                   digital and communications plan
                                                                                                                                                                   activate the women’s game, by:
                                                                                                                                                                   • Developing assets for commercial
The history of sport – any sport – shows that players at the elite level are uniquely
positioned to positively influence the game at every level below them.                    positioned to be         to build profile and awareness;                   partners to utilise;

They can be inspirational role models – and become spokespeople for the sport            inspirational role      • Developing a distinctive
                                                                                                                   ‘Lionesses’ brand identity;
                                                                                                                                                                     • Ensuring all new commercial
                                                                                                                                                                       partnerships include marketing
they love. Just look at how other sports have developed female participation
and a following by ensuring those at the top are diverse, accessible, friendly and                 models’       • Producing toolkits and assets to
                                                                                                                                                                       value in kind;
                                                                                                                   support the Lionesses’ narrative.                 • Working with key rights holding
inspirational. And crucially, how they’ve remained engaged with the grassroots
                                                                                                                                                                       broadcasters to raise profile of
levels of their sport.
                                                                                                               • Improve engagement with elite
In the case of the women’s game in this country, the apex of the sport is the senior                                                                             • Ensure we tap into the experience
                                                                                                                 players and build relationships, by:
England team – the Lionesses.                                                                                                                                      and profile of former England
                                                                                                                 • Improving elite player support and
                                                                                                                                                                   players, by:
                                                                                                                   liaison through a dedicated Player
We want to build the Lioness brand into one of the iconic national team brands.                                                                                    • Creating an England ‘legends
                                                                                                                   Partnerships Manager;
                                                                                                                                                                     programme’, with defined benefits
We must, therefore, ensure the Lionesses are connected to their fans and grass                                   • Supporting the lifestyle-training                 for former international players;
roots players – and not separated from the game. We must also seek relevant and                                    programme, specifically in the
                                                                                                                                                                     • Encouraging former players
active commercial partnerships, that can help transmit key positive messages                                       growing areas of social and
                                                                                                                                                                       to become ambassadors and
around the women’s game.                                                                                           digital media;
                                                                                                                                                                       spokespeople for the game.
                                                                                                                 • Proactively communicating
                                                                                                                   in the critical pre- and post-
                                                                                                                   event periods.

                                                                                                               • Develop an engaging and
                                                                                                                 interactive Lionesses’ Supporters
                                                                                                                 Programme, by:
                                                                                                                 • Creating a dedicated membership
                                                                                                                    club with content, behind-the-
                                                                                                                    scenes access and exclusive
                                                                                                                    experiences and competitions.

24 | The FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football: 2017-2020                                                                                   The FA’s strategy forThe
                                                                                                                                                                          women’s   and girls’
                                                                                                                                                                             FA’s women’s andfootball:         strategy | 25
                                                                                                                                                                                               girls’ football

Signpost opportunities to                                                                                       To achieve this priority, we will:
participate, watch or follow                                                                  ‘Once we’ve     • Develop a clear season long                   • Create exciting, affordable,
                                                                                                                narrative for the women’s game, by:             accessible, quality, family-friendly
                                                                                                 engaged        • Re-launching the FA WSL season
                                                                                                                  in autumn 2017 in order to have
                                                                                                                                                                football experiences, by:
                                                                                                                                                                • Working alongside commercial
Getting to a desired destination needs accurate and relevant signposting. If we are
to fulfil the ambitions of the women’s and girls’ game in England, we have to make            participants        a strong regular schedule and                   partners to improve the match
                                                                                                                  accompanying competition                        day experience with a range of
it clear how to take the first steps into the game, how to take up a role in football –
and how and where to watch women’s football in action.                                       and fans, we         narrative                                       different activities for different
                                                                                                                                                                  age groups;
This will require a lot of collaborative working – particularly with partners –
                                                                                           need to deliver      • Ensuring regular listings to
                                                                                                                  promote all fixtures at national,               • Developing and extending the
commercial and non-commercial – who share our aspirations.                                     top-quality        regional and local levels;                        existing FA WSL Sister Club
                                                                                                                                                                    programme into more clubs
But there’s another important point about signposting. The destination has got
to be worth the effort. So once we’ve engaged participants and fans, we need to
                                                                                             experiences        • Maximising use of social and
                                                                                                                  digital media on relevant                         and schools;

deliver top-quality experiences that encourage repeat visits – whether that’s to          that encourage          channels to reach the
                                                                                                                  appropriate audiences.
                                                                                                                                                                  • Exploring new and innovative
                                                                                                                                                                    event formats that drive new
weekly training sessions or to watch matches.
                                                                                             repeat visits’                                                         and more diverse audiences to
                                                                                                                                                                    the game;
We must also ensure that we provide defined upward routes for those already in                                • Deliver relevant content at relevant
the game who want to progress. For example, to take the next level coaching or                                  times on relevant platforms for                   • Reviewing the potential to bid to
refereeing qualification.                                                                                       target audiences, by:                               host major international events.
                                                                                                                • Reviewing all women’s social
                                                                                                                  and digital channels, and live-
                                                                                                                  streaming games and content that
                                                                                                                  are not on traditional broadcast
                                                                                                                  media, providing a dedicated
                                                                                                                  content series and production;
                                                                                                                • Developing new lifestyle and
                                                                                                                  short-form content specifically
                                                                                                                  around the Lionesses and FA WSL
                                                                                                                  clubs and players.

26 | The FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football: 2017-2020                                                                                The FA’s strategy forThe
                                                                                                                                                                       women’s   and girls’
                                                                                                                                                                          FA’s women’s andfootball:         strategy | 27
                                                                                                                                                                                            girls’ football

Improve the commercial                                                                                        To achieve this priority, we will:
prospects in women’s football                                                              ‘The women       • Create a dedicated women’s
                                                                                                              commercial programme, with
                                                                                        and girls’ game       separation of men’s and women’s
                                                                                                              international rights, by:
Every successful enterprise needs a steady income flow – to maintain ‘business as
usual’ and crucially, to grow.
                                                                                         in this country      • Creating a distinct and separate
                                                                                                                 brand identity for the Lionesses;
The women and girls’ game in this country is no different. Financial fuel is key to
                                                                                         is no different.     • Re-engineering the current usage
driving the game forward.                                                               Financial fuel is       of rights by partners with a view to
                                                                                                                create new assets and opportunities;
To achieve this, we will create separate commercial programmes for the men’s and      key to driving the      • Evaluating the commercial
women’s national teams, even though some sponsors may operate accross both.
                                                                                        game forwards           structure of FA WSL assets to
                                                                                                                support clubs and deliver more
Our partnerships with sponsors to girls’ and women’s football will include specific
marketing support on both sides to achieve our goals.                                 and sustaining it.’       value to new and existing partners.

We will develop concepts and programmes to show women’s football as exciting,                               • Create innovative broadcast and
skilful and unpredictable – all the attractions which have made the men’s game the                            event propositions, by:
world’s dominant team sport.                                                                                  • Working with all broadcasters
                                                                                                                to introduce new and innovative
                                                                                                                formats using social media
                                                                                                                influencers and short-form
                                                                                                                content to reach younger
                                                                                                                audiences and deliver commercial
                                                                                                                value for sponsors;
                                                                                                              • Working with clubs to provide
                                                                                                                regular and consistent fixtures for
                                                                                                                the domestic competitions;
                                                                                                              • Reviewing the format and timings
                                                                                                                of competitions and events to
                                                                                                                maximise commercial opportunities.

28 | The FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football: 2017-2020                                                                              The FA’s strategy forThe
                                                                                                                                                                     women’s   and girls’
                                                                                                                                                                        FA’s women’s andfootball:         strategy | 29
                                                                                                                                                                                          girls’ football
Key partners to the women’s and girls’ game

We would like to thank all the partners to                          Commercial partners   Broadcast partners   Non-commercial partners
the women’s and girls’ game. Their input
is vital to grow and sustain the game.

Such organisations include ‘internal’
partners to the game such as all the
clubs and Community Trusts in the
game’s current structure – as well as
the pivotal role played by County FAs.

‘External’ non-commercial partners
include educational bodies at primary,
secondary and tertiary levels – and
of course, the various government
departments and agencies, whose
remit the girls’ and women’s game
can help fulfil.

30 | The FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football: 2017-2020                                                                        The FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football: 2017-2020 | 31
Bringing it all together
A one-stop look at the priorities and key activities that will create a
World Cup-winning England Senior team and double the player and fan base.

 Strategic priorities                  To achieve each of the priorities, we will:
 Build a sustainable                   Appoint a Head of Performance                 Create a well-rounded              Develop a ‘winning edge’ at the     Review the competition pyramid    Develop strong partnerships with
 and successful high-                                                                ‘England experience’               game’s elite level                  and define the role and purpose   FA WSL 1 & 2 clubs
 performance system                                                                                                                                         of each level

 Build a world-class                   Ensure every talented player in England   Establish a comprehensive              Create 10 FA Women’s High-
 talent pipeline                       has access to the talent pathway, and the competition structure to support       Performance Centres to support
                                       opportunity to develop within it          player development                     player and coach development

 Increase the number                   Develop our coach development structure       Develop our refereeing structure   Encourage more women from
 and diversity of women                                                                                                 all backgrounds to administer or
 coaching, refereeing and                                                                                               serve as board members
 administering the sport
 at all levels
 Develop participation                 Develop localised inclusive women’s           Create a national network of       Launch an introductory              Create new programmes for         Invest in Further and
 opportunities and                     football strategies                           programmes for girls to take up    programme for voluntary             primary and secondary schools     Higher Education
 infrastructure                                                                      and continue to play football      organisations and create start-up
                                                                                                                        clubs in areas of deprivation

 Change perceptions                    Create an engaging brand proposition          Co-ordinate messaging and          Use diverse influencers and     Make the women’s game
 and social barriers to                and narrative to attract diverse young        promotions across partners         advocates to change perceptions affordable and accessible
 participation and following           girls to football                             and stakeholders                                                   for families

 Increase profile of the               Build the Lioness brand into one of the       Improve engagement with elite      Engage and encourage                Develop an engaging and           Ensure we tap into the
 England team and players              iconic national team brands                   players and build relationships    commercial partners and             interactive Lionesses’            experience and profile of
                                                                                                                        broadcasters to activate the        Supporters Programme              England players
                                                                                                                        women’s game

 Signpost opportunities to             Develop a clear season-long narrative for     Deliver relevant content at        Create exciting, affordable,
 participate, watch or follow          the women’s game                              relevant times on relevant         accessible, quality, family-
                                                                                     platforms for target audiences     friendly football experiences

 Improve the commercial                Create a dedicated womens’ commercial         Create innovative broadcast and
 prospects in women’s                  programme, with separation of men’s           event propositions
 football                              and women’s international rights

32 | The FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football: 2017-2020                                                                                                                                                                The FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football: 2017-2020 | 33
For more information
If you or your organisation wants to know more about how to get involved in the
women’s and girls’ game in this country, please contact your local County FA
Lead Officer for women’s and girls’ football.

A list of the Officers can be found at:

If you need to contact someone at The FA then please email: The person most relevant to your enquiry will then respond.

                                                                                        THE FUTURE
The Football Association
Wembley Stadium
London HA9 0WS
T: +44 (0)800 169 1863
F: +44 (0)800 169 1864
W:               REF. 12025
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