Hope Powell has outlined the importance of investing in grassroots women’s football to ensure that the Euro 2022 legacy continues to be felt in the aftermath of the tournament.
This summer’s European Championships have been the biggest in the history of the women’s game, sending attendance and ticket sale records tumbling.
To ensure the momentum of Euro 2022 is not lost, as part of the Women’s Euros legacy, the National Lottery are investing £1m through Sport England to get more women playing the game in the tournament’s host cities.
“It’s really important,” Powell told 90min. “It’s the messaging after, it’s the stamp that you want to leave to ensure that everybody remembers it for the future and buys into it and are engaged in it in the future.
“The money that the lottery put into the legacy is paramount to ensure that the memories of this tournament are long lasting and more importantly it gets more young girls involved in the game.
“I think [investing in] the grassroots game is really important. The grassroots is the future of the game, so it’s really important the game is accessible to all in all communities right across the country. I think really, really important that the money reaches those hard to reach communities to ensure the game is sustainable over a long period of time.”
Over the last 10 years, the National Lottery has invested £50m into football in ways which benefit the women’s and girls’ game. Having been England manager between 1998 and 2013 – initially at a time where she had to fight for everything the team got – Powell is well aware of the importance of Lottery funding to growing the game.
“If I look back 15-20 years ago when we at the FA had our youth national team, we relied on that Lottery funding to support programs so our young talent could benefit from that, and that was a huge, huge turning point in the women’s game,” Powell added. “Those players that you’re looking at today came through a pathway that was supported by Lottery funding, so really important.”
Powell is no stranger to a home Euros, having managed England at Euro 2005. The Brighton boss explained that visibility was a key legacy pillar 17 years ago, and the success that Euro 2022 is enjoying is a part of the Euro 2005 legacy.
“I think we recognised it [legacy] was an important part of hosting the tournament; the visibility of women’s football in this country on a large scale,” Powell said.
“We probably weren’t as ready for it as we are now today, but part of the legacy is why we are here today, and that visibility was important then and it gave us a real opportunity to showcase women’s football in this country and the best athletes at that time. I think part of the reason we’re at this point today is because of the legacy that was left then.”
Thanks to National Lottery players, over £50million has been invested into football in the last ten years, benefitting the women’s and girls’ game by increasing participation and helping young players fulfil their potential. Investment into the Women’s Euros legacy includes £1m of National Lottery funding, invested through Sport England, to get more women playing the game in each host city