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Labour urges government not to miss ‘open goal’ on women’s’ and girl’s football, as nation celebrates Lionesses stunning success

Following the Lionesses stunning success against Germany in the Euro 2022 Final, Labour is urging the government to seize the moment, put the ball in the back of the net for women’s and girl’s sport and be ambitious about its future. 

Labour argues that this is a key moment to capitalise on the momentum behind women’s football and ensure young girls who are inspired to pick up a ball today can be the next generation of England players.

But the party is warning the government that they must learn from their record of failure, when it comes to sports participation, and sporting legacy, given their record after the London 2012 Olympics and strengthen the women’s game.

Currently, even if women make it to the professional level, many women find the elite sport insecure and sometimes unsustainable. The chaos at Coventry FC, which was pushed to the brink of liquidation just months after becoming professional, and now has now been forced to go part-time, is a stark illustration of the risks women take on when choosing football as a career.

Labour is calling on Ministers to:

  • Celebrate the women’s European success with a one-off Bank Holiday where football clubs can open and promote the game to women and girls
  • Ensure all the Lionesses receive the recognition they deserve in the New Years’ Honours List
  • Announce the Chair and press ahead with the Review of Women’s Football, promised in the Crouch review, but undelivered by this zombie government
  • Ensure that the review learns the lessons of the recent failures in the men’s game, and capitalises on the different opportunities this presents making sure there is proper support for talent pathways, and respect for the game across the leagues is front and centre
  • Build on programmes such as the FA’s Girls Football School Partnerships so all girls can play football at school
  • Back Labour’s recovery plan commitment to afterschool activities for all children expanding access to sports clubs
  • The Party is also calling on UEFA to make prize money fairer in future Euro tournaments with men’s teams currently receiving 23 times more winnings than the women’s teams.

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Our Lionesses have done England proud and inspired a generation of women and girls across Portsmouth and the nation.

“This must be the sliding doors moment for the women’s game and we cannot let this opportunity slip through our fingers. We must ensure now that last night’s historic victory creates a lasting legacy to finally give women’s football the support and recognition it so clearly deserves. That starts by boosting inclusion, changing outdated attitudes and ending the neglect women’s football has faced for far too long.

“Government has committed to delivering a review of the women’s game, but Ministers must not delay in delivering the change our country now expects.”

Lucy Powell, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: 

“The country is rightly proud of our winning Lionesses, who have shown the best of British. The Conservatives have a terrible record of building on our sports stars success with a real and lasting legacy. Ministers must ensure we do not miss the open goal opportunity their success provides in cementing the women’s game.

“This is a potential game changing moment to capitalise on the momentum behind women’s football and ensure young girls who are inspired to pick up a ball today can be the next Lionesses.”