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The FA's #WhatIf pledge was to provide every girl with the opportunity to play football in school - how is it progressing?

21 December 2020

The FA's #WhatIf pledge was to provide every girl with the opportunity to play football in school - how is it progressing?

Women in Football's ground-breaking #WhatIf campaign launched in May 2018 aiming to change the football landscape by helping create new opportunities for girls and women.

In the first of a special mini-series we take a look at one of the key pledges made since that official launch at Twitter's London HQ and find out what has happened since.

#WhatIf we pledged to provide every girl in the country with the opportunity
to play football in school - The FA

When The FA pledged to provide every girl in the country with the opportunity to play football in school, it reduced many women to tears of joy, frustration and relief in equal measure.

Known as "the lost generation", thousands of older women had been denied the opportunity to simply play the game that they loved at school, "just because" they were girls.

In May 2019 The FA committed to making a change - and supported by Women in Football's lead partner Barclays - have gone about doing just that.

Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA's Director of Women's Football, said “As part of the WIF #WhatIf campaign, we pledged to provide every girl in the country with the opportunity to play football at school.

"In October this year, that pledge became a reality when we launched our new Women's and Girls' Football 'Inspiring Positive Change' Strategy for 2020-2024.

"One of the eight transformational objectives of the strategy was to provide every primary school-aged girl with equal access to football in school and in clubs.

"The strategy will see football embedded for girls in schools, as part of the PE curriculum and in after-school sessions, setting the target that 90 per cent of schools [both primary and secondary] in England are to become part of The FA Girls' Football School Partnerships network, supported by Barclays.

"It's an ambitious target, however football can change lives for the better and it's something we are determined to achieve."

Barclays' commitment to ensuring that girls and women have equal opportunities in football has been evident with their ongoing support of the women's game.

"In 2019, we launched our record-breaking sponsorship of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships that aims to give girls greater access to football in schools," said Tom Corbett, Group Head of Sponsorships and Media at Barclays.

"We were delighted that the Football Association (FA) made this #WhatIF pledge to give all girls access to football by 2024 – something we were only too pleased to support.

"It is great to see how this has taken shape with such a positive, lasting impact for so many young girls.”

To find out more about ‘Inspiring Positive Change’ and the eight key objectives for change, click here.

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