Lionesses urge UK government to ensure all girls have chance to play football

England’s Euro 2022 winning squad has penned an open letter to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, one of whom will become the next UK prime minister next month, urging the government to properly invest in girls’ football and ensure that all girls are given a choice to play football.

Sporting journeys will often begin at school, but currently only 63% of girls have the opportunity to play football in school. There are targets from the FA and Barclays to raise that figure to 100% by 2024, but there have been widespread calls for it to happen now.

Ian Wright went viral for an impassioned speech after England’s semi-final victory over Sweden and Karen Carney told 90min last week: “We don’t leave it to 2024. It should be now.”

The Lionesses have collectively insisted that winning Euro 2022 is ‘only the beginning’.

The open letter read: “We want every young girl in the nation to be able to play football at school.

“Currently only 63% of girls can play football in PE lessons. The reality is we are inspiring young girls to play football, only for many to end up going to school and not being able to play. This is something 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.

“We ask you and your government to ensure that all girls have access to a minimum of 2hrs a week PE. Not only should we be offering football to all girls, we also need to invest in and support female PE teachers too. Their role is crucial and we need to give them the resources to provide girls’ football sessions. They are key role models from which so many young girls can flourish.

“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.

“This is an opportunity to make a huge difference. A change that will impact millions on young girls’ live. 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 school, so that every girl has a choice.”

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!