FA to double Women and Girls Participation by 2020

The Football Association today (Monday 13 March) unveiled its ambitious new women’s and girls’ football strategy.

The Gameplan for Growth details how The FA will double participation in the game by 2020, and create a sustainable and successful high performance system which will ensure England teams at every age group compete with distinction on the world stage.

At the launch Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s Head of Women’s football, outlined The FA’s vision on how to build consensus, collaboration and co-ordination across every level of the game. To achieve this aim The FA will focus on eight key priority areas:

  • Build a sustainable and successful high performance system

  • Build a world class talent pipeline  

  • Increase the number and diversity of women’s coaches, referees and administrators in the sport at all levels

  • Developing participation opportunities and infrastructure

  • Changing  perceptions and social barriers to participation and following

  • Enhance the profile and value of the England team and players

  • Signpost opportunities to participate, watch or follow

  • Improve the commercial prospects in women’s football

Changes to be implemented to achieve the priorities include the creation of four new posts; a Head of Women’s Performance, a Head of Women’s Coach Development, a new Women’s Refereeing Manager and a Head of Marketing and Commercial, Women’s Football.

Other initiatives include player profiling, the creation of a new talent pathway as well as a full competition review of the Women’s leagues. The FA will also establish ten FA Women’s High Performance Centres. To increase participation, The FA in partnership with SSE, will develop a new network of 200 SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Clubs that will provide local safe and girl friendly football programmes. Additionally The FA will implement local women’s and girls’ football strategies in each of the County FAs.    

In delivering its new strategy, The FA will continue to work closely with partners from across the game as well as its key commercial sponsors and broadcasters. The FA has expressed its ambition to stage a major international tournament in the coming years as it seeks to inspire the next generation and ultimately set a new benchmark for women’s football globally.

Baroness Sue Campbell said: "Women’s football has never been stronger. I am immensely proud of the work that The FA has done in this area already but I am genuinely excited about the potential for the game. I strongly believe that this strategy will change perceptions and help remove the social barriers to participation whilst continuing to support the serious players on their pathway to the England team.

"We want to welcome every girl and woman into the game regardless of ability, background or age. There has never been a more important time for football to play its part in supporting girls and women to become physically active and to lead and administer the game."

England head coach Mark Sampson said: "This strategy will really deliver the changes we need that will drive the game forward at all levels. It’s so important we create opportunities for girls to play football. We want to be the best team in the World so growing our player pool is key to that goal. We also have to give them the opportunity to get involved and to keep developing the pathway for those who want to take their passion for football further.

"I know how committed The FA is to developing the women’s game at all levels. My message to everyone is this is a really exciting time to be involved in women’s football."

England centurion and Arsenal Captain Alex Scott said: "When I was growing up there weren’t any female footballers I could look up to and know that it could be a career for me. That’s definitely changing and it’s great to see that the strategy will push to show that football is a game for women in all areas.

"I’ve been playing since I was eight and the game has developed so much. There is so much potential for the game to grow further from international to grassroots level and I do believe The FA’s strategy will help us all achieve that aim."

For more information please visit: www.TheFA.com/Womens-girls-football


The Football Association has today announced four new appointments to support its new women’s football strategy.

In the Technical directorate, dedicated to the development of the elite women’s game, David Faulkner has been appointed as the new Head of Women’s Performance, Audrey Cooper joins as the Head of Women’s Coach Development and Joanna Stimpson is the new Women’s Refereeing Manager. In the Marketing and Commercial Division Marzena Bodganowicz has been appointed to the new Head of Marketing and Commerical Women’s Football.  

Faulkner will be responsible for managing the women’s high performance system and driving a winning Senior Women’s team. He will manage the England and FA WSL player development strategy and provide leadership to the Women’s Performance department. He will join The FA on Monday 3 April.

Faulkner enjoyed a successful international hockey career, winning Olympic gold in the 1988 Seoul games, along with World and European silver and bronze medals. He achieved 225 international caps and captained both England and Great Britain. David then went on to become England and Great Britain Performance Director (Hockey) from 2005-2012.

He joins The FA from Millfield School in Somerset where, as Director of Sport he worked with eight athletes who went on to represent Team GB in the Rio Olympics, winning gold and silver medals.

Cooper will develop and lead a team of Coach Educators who will work across elite and grassroots level, increasing the number of women coaches across the game. Audrey will be responsible for leading the development of female coaching qualification and CPD programmes in line with the women’s national strategy. She will begin her role on Wednesday 1 March.

Audrey joins The FA from UK Sport, where she was Coaching Team Manager. She previously worked as the Head Coach of the Team GB Indoor Volleyball side who went to the London Olympics, then progressing to Volleyball England’s Technical and Talent Director.

As an athlete Cooper also represented GB in the 1996 Atlanta Games in Beach Volleyball and at various World and European Championships.

Joanna Stimpson is the new Women's Refereeing Manager. She has been appointed to create a national strategy for female refereeing in England. She will focus on creating a clear development pathway for female referees within the female game. This will begin from mini soccer through to the elite FIFA list and will offer inclusive, comprehensive and tailored support. The FA wants to deliver a standard of refereeing within the female game that will exceed that of any other country in the world.

Joanna comes from a playing background before she progressed into refereeing and referee development. Most recently she held the post of referee development officer at Somerset FA. Whilst at Somerset FA she developed and implemented a training strategy providing referee education and training to all groups of referees to meet the requirements of their personal ambition and the needs of our affiliated leagues.

Additionally, Marzena Bogdanowicz has been appointed as the new Head of Marketing and Commercial Women’s Football. This new role has been designed to lead and co-ordinate a cross functional team on women’s football including all aspects across marketing, commercial, digital and communications to deliver integrated support to the women’s game across the whole organisation.

Since 2006 Marzena has been running her own marketing consultancy b-focused ltd, specialising in sports marketing, sponsorship and event management. Prior to B-focused, Marzena spend ten years as the inaugural Director of Marketing at the British Olympic Association (BOA) where she developed and led the first commercial and marketing department.

A key achievement of her time at the BOA was the introduction of the internationally recognised Team GB brand. Previous employers include the ECB and the Squash Rackets Association.    

FA head of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell, said: "These appointments are a clear indication of our commitment to move the women's game to a new level and all the new roles will play a key role in implementing our new women’s strategy which aims to double women’s participation by 2020."