Former England international Karen Carney to lead review of women’s football

·3-min read

Karen Carney has been appointed to lead a review of women’s football in England.

The aim of the review is to ensure the sustainable growth of the women’s game at elite and grassroots level and build on the Lionesses’ success in winning the European title earlier this summer.

Carney, who won 144 caps for England and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games, will lead a series of group meetings with industry experts.

Karen Carney
Karen Carney (right) won 144 caps for England (Barry Coombs/PA)

The review will consider the potential audience reach and growth of the women’s game, and examining its financial health and how to support its commercialisation.

It will also look at how the women’s game is structured, looking at the affiliation with men’s teams and prize money among other issues.

Carney said: “Over the last few years, the game has grown significantly and at a rapid pace.

“Of course, this is an exciting time, but there is an urgent need to ensure there are processes and structures in place that protect the interest of the game and the people working in it.

“I have always said that the sport needs to be built on solid foundations to give it long-lasting success in a sustainable way.

“For me, this is a defining period for the sport and this review will be at the heart of that.

“We must capitalise on these powerful moments and can look back on 2022 as a year where we made great strides forward in the growth of the game.”

The Football Association will issue a call for evidence in the coming weeks. Carney will be supported in gathering evidence by senior officials at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the FA.

England
England were crowned Euro 2022 champions this summer (Danny Lawson/PA)

A full report is expected to be published early next year, with the Government then making a formal response.

The Women’s Euro in England was watched by an audience of 365 million people according to UEFA.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The Lionesses’ spectacular performance shows how far we have come at the top of the women’s game.

“While it is right that we celebrate and reflect on that success, we need an equal emphasis on improving participation, employment opportunities, commercial investment and visibility in the media.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is looking for improvement in the women’s game (Steve Parsons/PA)

“We want to make sure everyone can enjoy the benefits of team sport and there is a robust infrastructure to sustain women’s and girls’ football for the future. A thorough review of the game will help ensure it is here for the long term.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston told the PA news agency in July there was a “deliberate and conscious focus” on driving up girls’ participation in football inside and outside school.

One of the targets of the FA’s four-year ‘Inspiring Positive Change’ strategy is to ensure that every primary school-aged child should have the same access to the sport as boys at school and in clubs by 2024.

The FA has reported this year that only 63 per cent of schools offer girls’ football in PE lessons, and that only 40 per cent of schools offer girls regular extracurricular football.

At primary level, 72 per cent of schools offer it. That drops to 44 per cent at secondary level.

A comprehensive review of the women’s game was a recommendation of the fan-led review of football governance, which was commissioned by the Government in April last year following the foundation and swift collapse of the European Super League.