The record attendance at this year’s SSE Women’s FA Cup Final is evidence of the nation’s appetite for the women’s game, said Baroness Sue Campbell.
A bumper crowd of 45,423 packed out Wembley Stadium to watch Chelsea defeat London rivals Arsenal 3-1 to win the competition for the second time.
It was the fourth year in a row the record had been broken with over 10,000 more fans attending the showpiece than in 2017.
And it came just a month after 25,000 people went to St. Mary’s for Phil Neville’s first home match as England head coach; the Lionesses’ biggest home crowd outside Wembley since 2005.
“It’s a wonderful indication of how the game is growing in every respect,” said Baroness Campbell, The FA’s head of women’s football.
“We’re building all the time. We are creating more participation opportunities for young people and we’re growing the number of coaches and referees.
“England are ranked second in the world and are also starting to draw big crowds.
“There’s a momentum and this Final attendance was a fantastic culmination of that.”
She continued: “When I was walking up Wembley Way on my way to the game, I saw a whole family – mum, dad, children and grandparents – all taking a selfie, and that’s exactly what we want.
“We want it to be a family event so it was great to see so many families in and around Wembley.”
We launched ‘The Gameplan For Growth’, an ambitious four-year strategy that aims to grow participation and create a high-performance system for England teams, in March 2017.
And 12 months in, we are on course to hit our targets.
“The momentum is building quicker than any of us anticipated and now we need to build on it,” said Baroness Campbell. “We need to consolidate this and continue to grow the game on very solid foundations.
“There are many things that can grow at speed and just as quickly disappear. We don’t want this to happen with the women’s game.
“We want women and girls from all over the country, from whatever background, to play, coach, referee and to sit in boardrooms. We want football to be for everyone.”