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Raising the bar: The response from Women in Football

The UK government’s report on the future of women’s football, Raising the Bar, from the panel headed by Karen Carney MBE, has been published. Women in Football’s response is as follows.

Women in Football welcomes the Raising the Bar’s ambitious vision of the game as a future global leader creating economic and social value for all. WIF gave evidence to the review and has a strong record of supporting women working in the game. At this early stage we are continuing to work through the detail, but given our remit we are particularly pleased to see Raising the Bar’s recommendations regarding professional players and the football workforce. These recommendations include:

the top two leagues to become fully professional environments supporting the best playing talent in the world
gold standard physical and mental health provision for professional players
best-in-class career transition support for players
a world-leading parental package
the FA to address lack of diversity across the women’s game both on and off the pitch
the FA to establish proper data on the demographics of the football workforce, with this to be used as the foundation stone of a full workforce strategy for the entire women’s game
the FA to review the impact of existing diversity initiatives. WIF supports the football bodies with these initiatives which are in place across the game but currently the landscape is fragmented. We call on the football authorities to develop a more integrated approach

Ebru Köksal, Chair of Women in Football, said:

“We have a unique opportunity to capitalise on the Lionesses’ wonderful success last summer and lay new, strong foundations for women’s football in this country. Women in Football stands ready and willing to continue working with our partners across the game to make sure football delivers on Raising the Bar’s promise of a globally leading game.”

Yvonne Harrison, CEO of Women in Football, said:

“Women in Football has for many years taken the lead in supporting women in the game and I am delighted that Raising the Bar is as ambitious as we are for women’s football, and for women’s place in the national game. We will continue to work through the detail in the document and advocate with the football authorities for the change we all want to see.

“We will shortly be publishing what our own members – women, men and non-binary people working across the game – have told us about their experiences of working in football and this will add to the growing body of detailed, data-based evidence about women’s experiences of the national game.”

Jane Purdon, director of Women in Football and a member of the panel of experts who inputted into Raising the Bar, said:

“I was honoured to be asked to support Karen Carney and her team with this critical project. As Raising the Bar makes clear, we have a lot of work to do but we also have every reason to be excited about the future. I join with my WIF colleagues in standing ready to help build that future.”

In addition, other WIF directors including Lisa Parfitt, Paul Barber OBE, Prof Sue Bridgewater, Kelly Simmons OBE, Lungi Macebo and Monique Choudhuri have all either directly or indirectly contributed to the evidence submitted to the review panel.

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