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FA targeting major tournament win for England Women after unveiling new strategy

England v Sweden – FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 – Third Place Play-Off – Stade de Nice
(Image credit: John Walton)

The Football Association has unveiled a new four-year strategy for the women’s game, with England winning a major tournament among the targets.

The Lionesses will be the host team at the European Championships that have been rescheduled for 2022, and the following summer the World Cup is set to take place in Australia and New Zealand.

The team were beaten semi-finalists in the 2015 and 2019 World Cups and also Euro 2017.

The FA’s ‘Inspiring Positive Change’ strategy, which it says “pledges to create a sustainable future for women’s and girls’ football in England”, has eight “transformational” objectives to be achieved by 2024.

As well as the trophy target for England, the objectives include every primary school-aged girl to have equal access to football in school and in clubs, collaboration with clubs to develop an “effective high-performance, inclusive player-centred pathway”, and creating “the best professional women’s sports leagues and competitions in the world.”

Another pledge is to “recruit and support a motivated, diverse range of local leaders organising football for their communities”, and there are also targets related to the the development of coaches and referees.

The FA said the home Euros will be “a catalyst for growth across every area.”

The Lionesses have reached the semi-finals of the last three major tournaments

The Lionesses have reached the semi-finals of the last three major tournaments (Richard Sellers/PA)

Baroness Sue Campbell, the FA’s director of women’s football, said: “Football has the power to change lives for the better. It can contribute to physical and mental wellbeing, it can provide opportunities to compete and collaborate with others, and it can help to shape the place of girls and women in wider society.

“Our new four-year strategy is based on understanding an individual’s motivation to play – for learning, for recreation, for competition and for excellence.

“We want to ensure there is access and opportunity for every girl and woman to play, coach, spectate, officiate, manage or administer if they so wish and the game to be truly representative of our society across all characteristics and social backgrounds.

“The FA’s new Inspiring Positive Change strategy will build upon the foundations created by The Gameplan for Growth (the strategy launched in 2017, setting targets for 2020) and deliver truly transformational change to the women’s and girls’ game.”

England captain Steph Houghton said: “When I and many of my team-mates were girls, opportunities to play the game were few and far between, so to see the breadth and scale of the FA’s ambitions in the next four years is extremely exciting.

“From the incredible pledge to provide equal access to football for primary-aged girls, to the pathway created for the country’s best talent to fulfil their potential – this strategy is truly game-changing.

“This new strategy will help provide opportunities for women and girls of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to fall in love with football and enjoy the many benefits that it can bring to their life.”