12 February 2019
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson makes her #WhatIf pledge at the House of Parlianment © Women in Football
Women in Football's #WhatIf campaign continues to go from strength to strength - and now has the backing of further MPs and dignitaries.
A reception at the House of Parliament on Wednesday 6 February, hosted jointly with #WhatIf headline sponsor Betfair, kicked off with a welcome speech from Betfair's Tanya Horgan.
Douglas Ross, Member of Parliament for Moray, added his welcome as official host for the night before WiF Ambassador Jacqui Oatley MBE paid a moving tribute to colleague and friend Vikki Orvice, who tragically died earlier in the day.
WiF chair Ebru Köksal completed the speeches, thanking our key sponsors such as Betfair and all those other organiations and individuals whose pledges have contributed to an improvement for women and girls within the football industry.
Members and guests were then invited to make a pledge of their own, and Mark Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside, pictured, was one of the first to pick up a pen and write his personal pledge: "Football to be available as a sport choice for every schoolgirl."
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson was quick to follow, writing: "I pledge to support Premier League clubs (and stop giving them a hard time) if they properly support the women's game. They can do it!"
Rosey Matheson, Marketing & Development Manager at Lewes FC, added: "#WhatIf I can get even more people to come to watch matches at Lewes FC? #EqualityFC."
Speaking of the event, attended by around 100 people, Jane Purdon, CEO of Women in Football said, “It’s truly heartening to see MPs making a pledge to advance the landscape for women working in and around the football industry. I would encourage anyone who has been inspired by this campaign to get involved and make their own pledge, however big or small, by using the hashtag #WhatIf on Twitter.“
Naomi Totten, spokesperson for Betfair, added: “We are delighted to be a headline sponsor of the #WhatIf campaign, it’s been incredible to see so many people, including MPs, pledging their own support and commiting to driving the development of women’s football and conditions for women within the industry forward.
“In addition to sponsoring the campaign, Betfair also pledged to ring-fence 50% of our Cash4Clubs grassroots sports grants to women’s teams and are pleased to say that we have already fulfilled this pledge.
“In 2017 Betfair also committed to increasing the number of women in the UK with a professional football coaching licence in an attempt to address gender inequality in the English coaching pyramid.
"As it stands, at the very top, there are just 5 women on a UEFA pro license in the UK compared with nearly 300 men. There is still lots to be done and we hope that the #WhatIf pledges will continue to push the agenda forward.”
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