The Prospects for the Further Development of Women’s Football in England: A Time for Optimism

The Prospects for the Further Development of Women’s Football in England: A Time for Optimism

Wednesday 16th February 2011 at 6pm

Lankaster Lecture Theatre (University College London)
Medawar Building,
Malet Place (off Torrington Place),
London WC1
(For directions click here)

A Roundtable Discussion

  • Rachel Pavlou, National Women’s Football Development Manager at the Football Association. She has particular responsibility for managing the implementation of the FA Women’s & Girls’ Football Strategy, managing the FA Girls’ Talent Development Programme, and supporting the development of the FA WSL (Women’s Super League).
  • Chair – Eric Golding, FA Registered Supply League Referee Assessor, Referee Assessor on the FA Women’s Premier League, Referee Co-ordinator at the Arsenal Ladies Centre of Excellence, Hon. Mentoring Officer at the London FA, Retired Referee and FA Registered Referee Tutor.
  • Natalie Huntley, Women’s & Girls’ Football Development Officer (North London) at the London Football Association.  Responsible for developing women’s and girls’ football in North London, from grassroots level upwards.  This includes developing new teams, supporting existing clubs and providing opportunities for females to get involved in refereeing and coaching.
  • Casey Stoney, England internationalist, and Chelsea Ladies (Women’s Super League) player.


This roundtable event brings together a number of distinguished figures from English women’s football to discuss the prospects for the women’s game after a decade of successful expansion in grassroots participation and significant improvement in the quality of the elite women’s game. In particular, the panel will focus on the challenges ahead for the women’s game at a time of great optimism as the FA passes the halfway point in the delivery of the FA Women’s & Girls’ Football Strategy 2008-12, and on the eve of one of the most significant developments in the history of the women’s game, the launch of the FA WSL in April 2011. In particular the panel will focus their discussion on the lessons learned so far from the implementation of the Women’s & Girls’ Football Strategy 2008-2012 in terms of how its key objectives and milestones have been met (FA, 2008, pages 19-23); and will present some pointers for key strategic priorities that might be included in a follow-on strategy for the period 2012- 2015, making reference to how the work of women’s and girls’ Football Development Officers at the grassroots level might be even more effectively supported as they work to meet the Football Strategy’s goals.

The FA only assumed full responsibility for women’s and girls’ football in 1993 and the investment to date has been largely targeted at girls’ development and the international programmes. In this time progress has been impressive. Women’s and girls’ football continues to grow with more players competing in affiliated competition than any other team sport. The FA has reported (2008) that there has been a significant increase in the number of players, clubs, leagues and competitions since 1993; the number of affiliated players has increased from 10,400 to over 150,000 today. Sport England’s Active People survey in 2008 highlighted that 260,000 women and 1.1 million girls play some form of football in England. Over 16,000 females have successfully attained FA coaching qualifications, 1,300 female referees have been trained by The FA and full-time women’s football development officers are employed across the country. Women’s football has a well-regarded player pathway and a strong Centres of Excellence infrastructure. The number of national players emerging from these Centres is evidence of their success. On the international stage England representative teams have gone from strength to strength. England successfully hosted the 2005 UEFA Women’s European Championships, reached the quarter finals at the 5th FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals in China in September 2007, and brilliantly reached the final of the 2009 UEFA Women’s European championships in Finland 2009.  The FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011 and the London Olympic Games in 2012 will all raise the profile of the women’s game globally. All these factors present a unique platform for the further development of the female game, particularly when further impetus for the development of the women’s game is likely to be given by the launch of the FA WSL in April 2011. They provide the backdrop to the implementation of the Women’s & Girls’ Football Strategy 2008-2012 and the drafting of a new plan for the period 2012-2015.


Birkbeck Sport Business Seminar Series Contact Details

For further details on the seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763

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