A look back on 20 years of running women's football

Monday 30 Dec 2013
Back in July The FA celebrated 20 years of running women's football in this country

Twenty years ago The FA assumed control of the women’s game in England – and it has never looked back.

In July 1993 Bill Clinton had just become the 42nd President of the United States, Gabrielle’s ‘Dreams’ was No1 in the charts, Jurassic Park was breaking box-office records and Pete Sampras and Steffi Graff were ruling the courts of Wimbledon.

Women’s football in England was a sport competing, and struggling, against other more traditional team games such as netball. Since then, however, the popularity of women’s football in England has grown exponentially.


Girls football celebration

Girls celebrate during a game


Two years earlier the Woman’s Football Association had launched a 24-team national league while there was also a thriving cup competition in place.

However, overall participation among women and girls in England remained low.

In 1993 there were just 80 registered girls’ teams. Today more than 1.4 million female players participate on a regular basis, and there are 5,143 girls’ teams and 1,437 registered adult sides.

International football has also flourished. Since their first game in 1972 – a 3-2 victory against Scotland at Greenock - the England women’s national team has gone from strength to strength. 


Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner lifts The FA WSL title at Halton Stadium

Liverpool became FAWSL champions in 2013


The women’s game in England was enhanced further with the introduction of The FA Women’s Premier League in 1994 and in 2011 with the creation of The FA Women’s Super League.

Last year The FA announced its five-year plan for enhancing the women’s game in England. Entitled Game Changer’ the programme has harnessed the momentum generated by the London Olympics.

In our video in the player above, watch some special moments from the history of women's football 20 years after The FA took charge of the game in England.

By FA Staff