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SBD Global/October 25, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
FA Aims To Make Women's Football Second-Highest Participant Sport In U.K. By '18
Published October 25, 2012
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ROOM FOR GROWTH: The BBC's Sam Sheringham wrote that FA Chair David Bernstein said: "Women's football is the area with the most potential for growth in the nation's favourite game." The FA is "determined to build on the success" enjoyed by women's football at the London Games, when 70,584 turned out at Wembley to watch Team GB defeat Brazil in a group match. The FA will invest £3.5M ($5.6M) into the women's game over the next four years. England coach Hope Powell said that she hoped the plan "could help the national team move up from its current world ranking of eighth to challenge the likes of Germany, France and the U.S." Powell also reiterated her desire for Team GB "to be represented" at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic (BBC, 10/24). In London, Owen Gibson noted that FA General Secretary Alex Horne said that the evolution of a professional league would depend "on the commitment of top clubs." He praised Arsenal for seeing its women's club "as an extension" of its community and commercial strategy and "called on others to do the same." Even though more than 70,000 turned out for an Olympic match, and England matches have drawn "respectable audiences" on the BBC, the average crowd at a Women's Super League match in the U.K. is "about 500." FA Head of National Game Kelly Simmons said, "One of the key things is the new commercial approach. We need to build on what we've got today with ESPN and the BBC" (GUARDIAN, 10/24). FA and women's football leaders have called on England's top men's clubs to invest more money in their female teams as the game took another step toward a professional structure (Professional Footballers' Association).