Insights Women’s football: UK Government backs recommendations on standards


In July 2023, Karen Carney published a review of women’s football with a view to ensuring a successful and sustainable future for the sport. Specifically, the review was aimed at lifting minimum standards in four areas: corporate structures, professional environment, fan experience and grassroots. At the time of conducting the review, the Football Association (“FA”) proposed setting up new independent entity to manage the top two leagues in women’s football, the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship. The review made a number of recommendations including in relation to the financial sustainability and corporate governance of this new entity (“NewCo”).  In the area of “professional environment,” which Karen Carney identified as one in which reforms are most urgently needed, she recommended that the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championships become fully professional.

The review did not focus solely on the elite tiers of women’s football, but also made recommendations in relation to talent, diversity, broadcasting, fans, school sport, grassroots facilities and funding, with a focus on access and participation by women and girls, and FA administration.

On 4 December 2023, the Government announced that it has accepted all the recommendations. The Government will now convene an implementation group consisting of the FA, NewCo and others to ensure that key milestones are met. It will also establish a separate Board of Women’s Sports in 2024, attended by leading figures in the industry, to highlight common themes and challenges and share best practice and research. Finally, it will inject £30m to build approximately 30 new state-of-the-art 3G pitches and accompanying facilities designed to prioritise women’s and girl’s teams across England.

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