England women set target of winning major tournament by 2024

England women set target of winning major tournament by 2024

England beat Norway to reach the semi-finals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France before losing to eventual winners USA

The Football Association wants England to win a major tournament within the next four years as part of its growth strategy for women’s and girl’s football.

The ambitious target is one of eight objectives in the FA’s four-year ‘Inspiring Positive Change’ strategy.

England is scheduled to host the Women’s European Championship in 2022.

“Football has the power to change lives for the better,” said FA director of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell.

“It can contribute to physical and mental wellbeing, it can provide opportunities to compete and collaborate with others, and it can help to shape the place of girls and women in wider society.

“With the home Euros, we really believe we have an opportunity to turbo charge all of the things that we want to do.”

The European Championship was originally due to take place in 2021 but was pushed back a year after the men’s Euro 2020 tournament was rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Australia and New Zealand are then scheduled to host the Women’s World Cup the year after.

“We, of course, want to win a major tournament. But to do that, we don’t want to just win a major tournament once. We want to continue to win major tournaments for years ahead,” said Baroness Campbell.

“So our vision for England is that we would like to do extremely well next year in the Olympics. We, of course, would love to win the home Euros the year after. But our big ambition is to be the winners of the World Cup in 2023.”

As well as tournament success, other objectives include growing commercial revenue to help the Women’s Super League become the best professional sports league in the world and supporting the development of coaches and female referees.

“We want to provide the best in the world, not just for the top league, the Women’s Super League, but we want to have a league structure which really is the envy of the world,” added Baroness Campbell.

“We want to make sure the women’s game remains at the very top all the way through this process and that it can be sustained financially in the future.”

The new strategy is designed to build on the FA’s three-year ‘Gameplan for Growth’ launched in 2017.

The eight objectives it hopes to achieve by 2024 are:

  • Every primary school-aged girl to have equal access to football in school and in clubs.
  • Every girl to have equal access to participate for fun, for competition and for excellence.
  • Collaborate with clubs to develop an effective high-performance, inclusive player-centred pathway.
  • Create the best professional women’s sports leagues and competitions in the world.
  • Win a major tournament.
  • Recruit and support a motivated, diverse range of local leaders organising football for their communities.
  • Support the development of exceptional coaches at every level of the game who are representative of our society.
  • Ensure that every female referee afforded high-quality bespoke learning and development opportunities from grassroots through to the elite game.

England women’s captain Steph Houghton says the strategy has the potential to be “truly game-changing” for women’s football in the country.

“When I and many of my team-mates were girls, opportunities to play the game were few and far between, so to see the breadth and scale of the FA’s ambitions in the next four years is extremely exciting,” she said.

England’s women’s side have never won a major tournament, finishing European Championship runners-up twice in 1984 and 2009.

They reached the semi-finals of the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, as well as the 2017 European Championship.

Head coach Phil Neville is to stand down from the role next summer to be replaced by Netherlands women’s manager Sarina Wiegman.

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