FEATURE24 July 2019

Changing the game

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Women’s football is growing at every level, but barriers – both cultural and commercial – remain. By Katie McQuater


Throughout June and the beginning of July, France hosted the eighth Fifa Women’s World Cup, and momentum for women’s football reached fever pitch. England’s Lionesses pulled in the viewers; new role models, more media exposure, record attendances and bigger investment has contributed to a sense that the women’s game is a force to be reckoned with.

“From the athletes to the federations, to broadcasters and brands – this is the biggest modern-day moment in women’s football. It’s a tipping point for the future of the game, ” says Rebecca Smith, global executive director of the women’s game at media network Copa90.

While women’s football has undergone a seismic shift, access to the sport is still unequal for women and girls in terms of facilities, investment, visibility and opportunities to play, although this is changing. For the Football Association’s (FA’s) head of insight, Ross Antrobus, growth is driven by three things – grassroots participation, exposure at the elite end of the sport, and commercial backing.

The FA has ...