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Lionesses success recognised with £30m grassroots facilities fund

Reserved peak-time slots and women and girls’ only evenings will be featured as part of plans to build approximately 30 state-of-the-art pitches across England

Jamie Braidwood
Wednesday 29 November 2023 18:16 GMT
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The Lionesses reached the World Cup final this summer and have continued to use their platform
The Lionesses reached the World Cup final this summer and have continued to use their platform (The FA via Getty Images)

The Lionesses have hailed an “important” £30m cash injection from the government and Football Association that is set to prioritise access to football and playing opportunities for thousands of women and girls across England.

The new commitment honours the Lionesses’ legacy pledge after winning the Euros in the summer of 2022 and has promised to build approximately 30 state-of-the-art pitches across the country.

The new facilities will be designed to prioritise women’s and girls’ teams and will feature reserved peak-time slots and women and girls’ only evenings.

The culture secretary Lucy Frazer made the announcement to the Lionesses squad at St George’s Park ahead of their crucial Nations League double-header against the Netherlands and Scotland this week.

It follows the Lionesses vowing to use their platform to demand equal access to football for girls in school following their Euros victory, with the team since reaching the World Cup final this year and working to ensure their achievements are met by action off the pitch.

“I think we’re just immensely proud,” said Lucy Bronze, who has made 116 appearances for the Lionesses. “It’s nice to know that people believe in us just as much as we believe in ourselves, the fact that the government wants to invest so much money because they see the difference that we’ve made not just as a team on the pitch, but what a difference it made to women all around the country.

“I think the fact that we’ve been so successful as a team has given us a voice and a platform. We’ve always said that having that platform we want to use it for good and to send out a message and that’s exactly what we did after the Euros, we’ve continued to do that.

Lucy Bronze hailed the announcement (The FA via Getty Images)

“We know the power that we now hold as a team and as individuals. The fact that people are listening is amazing that we can make this difference is amazing. We want to continue that and we do care about the legacy that we leave and the game that we all love so much.”

On priority access, Bronze said: “It’s so important - I think that’s been a problem in the past. A lot of us players have probably gone through that issue where adult teams or boys teams especially have been prioritised. Now to be prioritising women and girls with these pitches is amazing.

“It’s not only giving the players opportunity, it gives them more confidence to know that there’s people do care about them, the respect and confidence that football is for them, for the girls and the women, they’re not second place we are up there and just as important as everyone else.”

Upon making the announcement, the culture secretary said: “The Lionesses display incredible talent and have achieved highly prized success. Their Euros victory gripped the nation, their success getting through to the World Cup final lifted the national mood.

“During the World Cup I said that we would do everything possible to support women and girls’ football so we can watch our Lionesses roar on the world stage for generations to come. Today, along with The FA I am launching a £30 million fund to make sure the next generation of girls have equal opportunities to get into sport.”

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