The Gameplan for Growth we published in March 2017 was a formal strategy for the development of women’s and girls’ football in England.
To give it purpose and momentum, it had two main aims: to set and reach some challenging targets by 2020; and to establish an infrastructure around which the game could flourish at every level.
Although the first one above is the headline-catcher, I believe the second one is more important. Yes, it’s great to say we’ve hit – and exceeded – targets, but having a firm foundation on which the game can grow is absolutely fundamental.
I am pleased we now have that foundation – a foundation that will be called upon more than ever.
Little was any of us to know that COVID-19 would enforce a hard stop on our season. It’s only with the infrastructure we have in place that we can now begin to plan for the future.
I want to thank everyone everywhere who has played their part in building the platform we now have. That includes players, coaches, referees, fans, clubs, leagues, tutors, administrators and of course our commercial, broadcast and public sector partners.
I’ve been in sport a long time and am extremely proud of the team at the FA and the wider network of staff in County FAs who have dedicated their efforts to growing the women’s and girls’ game, as well as making it safe, inclusive and enjoyable on the way.
And yes, as this report demonstrates we hit the numerical targets we set. It all means we can now begin to broaden our ambitions as the new strategy we will publish in a few months will reveal.
In everything we do, we must make it as easy as possible for women and girls to get into football, no matter their ability level, background or community. I am very confident we have the vision, the strategy and the people to make that happen.