The FA’s new three-year deal with Barclays is without doubt a landmark moment for the women’s game.
We believe it to be a record deal for women’s team sport in this country and the great thing is that the investment will cut right across the game from football in schools, to the FA WSL academy programme, right up to the FA WSL itself, so it’s a hugely exciting deal for everyone involved with women’s football.
When I started my new role as FA director of the professional women’s game in September last year, I committed to bringing in title sponsorship so I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to do that.
Barclays is a massive, massive brand, and a hugely credible brand, too. They have got a fantastic track record in helping to promote and support football – the men’s Premier League being the prime example – and it’s great that they want to be part of the huge acceleration of the women’s game.
There is already great coverage and awareness of women’s football, and Barclays is fully committed to taking the women’s game to the next level in terms of audience, awareness and interest, which is what we all want.
We at The FA have got a huge ambition of girls’ football being made available in every school in the country. We believe it is critical so I am delighted that Barclays will be our new schools partnership partner.
We created a network of schools partnerships across the country – clusters of schools where we are helping to imbed girls’ football into their curriculum – and Barclays are totally on board with us.
They understand the wider value of getting women and girls into sport in terms of the benefits it can bring such as health, confidence, resilience and teamwork.
They are also so eager to support the development of the talent pathway to help make girls understand that football is now a genuine career option for them, something that previous generations could never do.
Further up the ladder, Barclays’ investment will go partly towards an unprecedented FA WSL prize fund which we hope will be of great benefit to our clubs over the next few seasons.
When we were working together on the deal it was abundantly clear to see that Barclays is hugely passionate about the women’s and girls’ game, and I am incredibly excited about what the next three years holds in store.