England’s historic European Championship victory has had little impact on inner-city teenage girls, according to a new report.
Football Beyond Borders and Youth Beyond Borders found that although 46% of girls are watching more football since Euro 2022, 63% still cannot name a current Lioness.Embed from Getty Images
Former England Lioness Alex Scott has admitted that the findings do not come as a shock despite England’s success. At an event to launch the report, she said: “I’m not surprised, and I don’t know if that’s because of my background and still being real to where I come from and having conversations, but it just doesn’t surprise me.
“I was so outspoken and passionate with Ian Wright during the Euros because I know that I had to overcome a lot to get into the space that I am in now.
“Teenage Alex was lucky, because I signed for Arsenal when I was eight, so then all my focus was on not letting the opportunity go … everyone knew I was already signed to Arsenal, so it was cool right?”
Scott also claimed that there has been a disconnect between the Lionesses and the fans since the Euros. She added: “Now in women’s football people think it’s great. It’s fully professional. They think about the Lionesses. This research shows that there’s still so much work to do. There’s a disconnect and improvements we need to make.”
The survey of 650 teenage girls, 70% of whom are based in inner cities, also found that one in four teenage girls still never watch women’s football. However, Kelly Simmons, The FA’s Director of the Women’s Professional Game, remains adamant that women’s football is bigger and better than ever.
She said: “The interest [from the Euros] has translated into record attendances at the WSL this season. It was a phenomenal catalyst for growth across the whole game.”
Simmons later added: “We worked really hard on the legacy programme across the country and in the host cities to make sure we meet our target which we’re well on track to deliver with 500,000 new women involved in the game playing, coaching and refereeing so some great work by the county football associations, the clubs and the partners to make sure those girls that are inspired get the chance to play or have a role in football.”