Lionesses write open letter in bid to allow all girls to play football at school

·3-min read

England’s victorious Euro 2022 players have urged the next Prime Minister to give every girl in the nation the chance to follow in their footsteps.

In an open letter to Conservative Party leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, signed by all 23 members of the squad which beat Germany 2-1 after extra time in Sunday’s final, the Lionesses have called on the Government “to make a huge difference”.

In it, they say: “On Sunday evening history was made. The dreams of 23 women came true. England became European Champions for the first time in history.

“Throughout the Euros, we as a team spoke about our legacy and goal to inspire a nation. Many will think that this has already been achieved, but we see this as only the beginning.

“We are looking to the future. We want to create real change in this country and we are asking you, if you were to become Prime Minister on 5 September, to help us achieve that change.”

The Lionesses point out that only 63 per cent of girls can play football in school physical education lessons, and urge the Government to ensure girls have access to at least two hours of PE each week and the guidance of female teachers in the subject.

The letter continues: “This is something that we all experienced growing up. We were often stopped from playing, so we made our own teams, we travelled across the country and despite the odds, we just kept playing football.

“Women’s football has come a long way. But it still has a long way to go.”

A crowd of 87,192 crowd – the biggest-ever attendance for any Euros match, men’s or women’s – watched Sunday’s game at Wembley with an average television audience of 11million joining them as the hosts ended their wait for silverware.

England skipper Leah Williamson with the Euro 2022 trophy
England skipper Leah Williamson with the Euro 2022 trophy (James Manning/PA)

Skipper Leah Williamson and her team-mates quickly spoke about the legacy they wanted to leave behind, and their missive simply builds upon that.

It added: “We have made incredible strides in the women’s game, but this generation of school girls deserve more.

“They deserve to play football at lunchtime, they deserve to play football in PE lessons and they deserve to believe they can one day play for England. We want their dreams to also come true.

“This is an opportunity to make a huge difference. A change that will impact millions of young girls’ lives. We – the 23 members of the England Senior Women’s EURO squad – ask you to make it a priority to invest into girls’ football in schools, so that every girl has the choice.”

Both Sunak and Truss have committed to hosting a reception at 10 Downing Street to celebrate England’s success should they become Prime Minister.

The level of interest in the Lionesses’ exploits has ballooned as a result of their achievement with ticket sales for their planned October friendly against world champions the United States reaching 65,000 in less than 24 hours with the shutters coming down on Wednesday.

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