Review of Women’s Football: ‘Raising the Bar - Reframing the Opportunity in Women’s Football’ - final report and recommendations

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written statement – made at on 13 July 2023.

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Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Government has made significant progress in recent years to advance and support women’s sport. The Lionesses’ success at the Women’s Euros helped make 2022 a landmark year for women’s sport, with the country’s first major football trophy since 1966. Our efforts are focussed on specific critical areas, most notably girls' access to equal provision of sports in school. The Government is determined to build on the momentum and passion stirred by the Lionesses’ victory, and is committed to supporting women’s football and women’s sport to flourish.

The Fan Led Review of Football Governance, conducted in 2021, recommended that “given the many, but interconnected, issues affecting a meaningful future for women’s football needing to be addressed and resolved successfully, the future of women’s football should receive its own dedicated review”.

In response, the Government launched the independent Review of the Future of Women’s Football in September 2022 to examine the strategic priorities for the development of the game. The Review has been chaired by former England and Great Britain professional footballer, Karen Carney MBE.

Today the Government has published the final report which sets out the recommendations of the Review. The report reflects hundreds of hours of evidence and engagement and the passion of those who contributed in their desire to make women’s football a sport that enhances the lives of women and girls in England. It examines in detail the opportunities and challenges for the women’s game across the elite game and the wider pyramid. It considers girls' experiences of participating in, and watching, football, and the key issues from grassroots clubs through to the professional game. The Review makes ten strategic recommendations:

  1. The new entity tasked with running elite women’s football should not settle for anything less than world leading standards for players, fans, staff, and everybody involved in the women’s game.
  2. The FA needs to fix the talent pathway in order to create generation after generation of world beating Lionesses.
  3. Both the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship should become fully professional environments designed to attract, develop and sustain the best playing talent in the world.
  4. The FA should urgently address the lack of diversity across the women’s game - in both on and off pitch roles.
  5. The FA, Premier League, EFL and broadcasters should work together to carve out a new dedicated broadcast slot for women’s football.
  6. Clubs must better value and support their fans - the FA should raise minimum standards to enforce this.
  7. Government must deliver on recent commitments around equal access to school sports for girls.
  8. Everyone involved in funding grassroots facilities must come together to increase investment in order to accommodate meaningful access for women and girls.
  9. The FA, Premier League and Football Foundation should work together to make sure that women and girls are benefitting from funding flowing into facilities across the pyramid.
  10. The FA should leverage the handover of administration of the top two tiers of women’s football to even more acutely focus on grassroots clubs and the Women’s National League.

I would like to thank those who contributed to the Review, whether through the call for evidence or engagement sessions. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Karen, the Chair and her panel of experts for their hard work and dedication.

Women’s football can be a sport that genuinely enhances the lives of women and girls in England, and has the ability to offer a unique and accessible environment for all types of fans. I agree that it has the opportunity to become a world leading sport that can pave the way for women’s sport across the world. Football will need to carefully consider the recommendations made in this report.

The Government welcomes the work of the Review and will now consider the detailed recommendations before providing a full response in the autumn.

I have deposited a copy of the Report in the libraries of both Houses.