Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

WSL: FA launches new three-year women’s soccer strategy to grow the professional game

The Football Association has launched a three-year strategy focused on professional women’s play, with the aim of maximizing attendance, producing world-class talent and continuing to increase business revenue.

The Women’s Super League is in the first season of its £ 21 million three-year broadcast deal with the BBC and Sky Sports, which has recorded record viewership figures for top flight matches. The BBC has averaged viewership figures of 668,000 while Sky Sports has averaged 318,400.

However, there have been concerns that television coverage has had a ripple effect on assists across the division, averaging 2,282 this season.

The FA has launched a three-year strategy focused on professional women's play

The FA has launched a three-year strategy focused on professional women’s play

The FA is aiming for an average attendance of 6,000 attendees at the WSL and Kelly Simmons, director of FA Women’s Professional Play, believes they have to ‘recreate the habit’ of watching live matches.

“We know from the research we did around the Lionesses when we were selling Wembley tickets that there are still concerns among fans in terms of going back to the big live events and using public transportation. At times, fans have not been able to attend the games. We have to recreate the habit.

‘We have a fantastic opportunity with Sky and the BBC to raise that awareness and generate that commitment and signal the fans. I’m sure there is probably an element for those who are nervous that they now have access to watch it on television via Sky, BBC, and FA Player. But I think it’s more about recreating those habits and rebuilding the profile. ‘

Clare Balding, Rachel Yankey and Karen Carney present BT's coverage of Arsenal v Tottenham

Clare Balding, Rachel Yankey and Karen Carney present BT's coverage of Arsenal v Tottenham

Clare Balding, Rachel Yankey and Karen Carney present BT’s coverage of Arsenal v Tottenham

The FA Aims for an Average Attendance of 6,000 for the Women's Super League

The FA Aims for an Average Attendance of 6,000 for the Women's Super League

The FA Aims for an Average Attendance of 6,000 for the Women’s Super League

The announcement comes before the third ‘Women’s Soccer Weekend’, a landmark moment within the season that highlights women’s soccer. In previous years, clubs have played matches in their men’s stadiums, but Brighton is the only team that has chosen to switch venues.

Kelly Simmons, director of the FA's professional women's game, is pushing to 'recreate the habit' of watching live matches

Kelly Simmons, director of the FA's professional women's game, is pushing to 'recreate the habit' of watching live matches

Kelly Simmons, director of the FA’s professional women’s game, is pushing to ‘recreate the habit’ of watching live matches

“Our priority is to sell the land that we are on,” Simmons said. ‘Before Covid we had a great turnout in the men’s stadiums and we were starting to sell some of the big games in the women’s specific fields. They were in [an average of] just over 2,000 right now after a year without fans.

‘I think there will be a combination of games in the big stadiums that can increase those overall average numbers and then most of the games in the women’s stadiums. Once we get to that point where we are regularly selling out, that gives us a good problem to know where we would be looking to move more games to the main stadiums or look for alternative options. ”

Part of the FA’s strategy also targets investment in the workforce with the ambition that at least 50 percent of the head coaches in the two main divisions be women. Currently, five of the 12 WSL coaches are women and the last four managerial appointments have been all men.

“At one point last year we were 50-50 and then we slid slightly to a male majority at the WSL,” Simmons said. “All we can do is do everything we can to improve the portfolio of coaches and give them the best chance of success.

“From the very beginning when women’s football turned professional, everyone told me ‘all women’s jobs will disappear’, but actually when you look at the World Cups and the European Championships, a lot of women have been very successful in the game. world women’s soccer.

Jean-Luc Vasseur became the last of four male managerial appointments at the WSL

Jean-Luc Vasseur became the last of four male managerial appointments at the WSL

Jean-Luc Vasseur became the last of four male managerial appointments at the WSL

Marc Skinner (left) became the Manchester United Women's manager in July this year.

Marc Skinner (left) became the Manchester United Women's manager in July this year.

Marc Skinner (left) became the Manchester United Women’s manager in July this year.

“There is no reason why women cannot defend themselves. It’s our job to make sure we give them all that support. ‘

Another key part of the strategy is developing local talent, with a focus on club academies and talent trails.

“Having not had a homegrown rule last season, we incorporated that eight out of 25 have to be homegrown, which is in line with UEFA,” Simmons said. “UEFA is going to introduce a mix of local and club-trained. I think it makes sense for us to align ourselves with UEFA, because our squads, three of them, are going to play in a UEFA competition and they have a first-team squad. So that would raise the question that potentially in the future there could be a training element in the club for that, and that means you can’t just pick the cream of English talent, you have to develop some of them yourself.

“And that lends itself to the conversation above about making sure the clubs are reviewing the path to make sure we produce the best players for the clubs and England.”

There is also a goal for both the WSL and the Championship to be financially sustainable over the next five years and the FA is still looking to establish greater financial independence for the top flight.

“The FA has been very honest in saying that in the long run they don’t want to have a league,” said Dawn Airey, president of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship Board. “But they have developed the professional women’s league over the last 10 years and have been an excellent custodian of the league and have worked incredibly well with the clubs.

Dawn Airey praised the FA for developing the women's league for the past 10 years

Dawn Airey praised the FA for developing the women's league for the past 10 years

Dawn Airey praised the FA for developing the women’s league for the past 10 years

But we realize that as leagues become more successful and the amount of money coming into women’s sport increases, it would benefit from a real approach and potentially be a new independent company.

“We are a bit far from making a decision on the future of the leagues, in terms of the structure and how it is managed, but it is a very active conversation and it is going hand in hand with the clubs.”

Barclays’ sponsorship of the WSL for three years ends at the end of the season and Simmons revealed that an update on future sponsorship will be given in due course, and news of a sponsor for the Championship is also expected.

“I can’t reveal too much, but we have to make an announcement in the very near future on what it will look like in the coming seasons and it is, I think, very, very positive.”

“We set ourselves the goal of getting a sponsor for the championship and all I can say is ‘look at this space’, we hope to make an announcement in that space very soon.”

.