24 September 2019
The UK Parliamentary Women’s Football Club are joined by Rachel Brown-Finnis and Karen Carney MBE
Lewes FC Women Vets may have edged to a 4-2 victory, but football was the real winner in their first-ever match against the UK Parliamentary Women’s Football Club.
Played on Sunday 22 September, MPs from the two major political parties put on a rare show of unity for the first ever party conference women’s parliamentary football match.
The ground-breaking encounter took place during the Labour Party Conference in Brighton when the UK Parliamentary Women’s team and Lewes FC’s Women Vets expanded the tradition where male MPs compete against journalists during the Party Conference season to battle it out for a new trophy.
The cross-party Parliamentary team included MPs from the Conservative, Labour and Scottish Nationalist parties, who took to the pitch alongside senior journalists and editors from The Telegraph, Daily Mirror and The Independent.
Team captain and former Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, took to Twitter after her team were pipped in an epic encounter.
She said: "So proud to play alongside these amazing and inspiring ladies today, some of whom have never played on a full sized pitch before this afternoon. We lost. But we proved that no matter how old or experienced you are, you can play football and have great fun!"
Former international stars Rachel Brown-Finnis and Karen Carney MBE were on hand to offer words of encouragement and advice throughout on what was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP, Shadow Minister for Sport added: “We are a passionate group of women of different ages and abilities based in Westminster.
"We are keen to get out and show the power of football in bringing people together. It’s great that a women’s match was on the agenda for the first time this conference season."
Jenny Westaway, Founder of Lewes FC Women Vets, commented before kick-off: “We have been playing together for five years and taking part in this match will not only be great fun, but also a fantastic opportunity to bang the drum for local grassroots teams like us who play up and down the country."
The UK Parliamentary Women’s Football Club also confirmed that Barclays will be their club sponsor for the next 12 months. The bank is working with the Football Association to ensure that all girls can access football in schools across the country, and is investing millions into the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
Tom Corbett, Barclays Global Head of Sponsorship and Media, said: “Our mission is to help to develop and grow women’s football. Through sponsoring the UK Parliamentary Women’s Football Club, we were delighted to be able to help support the first ever party conference women’s game, in order to start a national conversation about how we can help ensure access for all girls to play football, including through the national curriculum.
“With a successful professional game and equal opportunities for girls at the grassroots level, we can change the perception over time so that the national game is for everyone.”
Following the game MPs joined leading figures from women’s football and Barclays to discuss the development of access to the game for girls and women.
A recent survey by YouGov found that 75% of female adults were denied access to playing football as kids*.
As the main supporter of the FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships, Barclays will help deliver football through 100 hubs covering 6,000 schools across the country.
* Figures from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2014 GB adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21 - 22 August 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
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