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Published 09 February 2024 3 min read
Grassroots Football

Women's and girls' football in England reveals recent growth

Written by:

Nicholas Veevers

Numbers from County FAs across England reveal the extent to which the grassroots game for women and girls has increased

The number of women and girls’ football teams across England has more than doubled over the last seven years.

With data provided from our County FAs across the country for a special report for the BBC, all of those who responded revealed a rise in the number of teams across their area particularly in the last three seasons.

The largest increases came in the 2022-23 season, when almost 1500 new teams were registered in the immediate aftermath of when England hosted UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 and the subsequent success of the Lionesses who went on to win the tournament.

There had already been an increase of just over 1400 new teams in the 2021-22 season with the largest percentage increase seen in Jersey, which has gone from having seven women’s and girls’ football teams to 53. They are followed by Surrey FA, which went from 177 to 552, and Sussex FA who went from 162 to 489.

The data provided came from 31 CFAs in England and the Channel Islands, where there are 12,150 women's and girls’ teams registered - up from 5,632 in the 2016-17 season.
England winning EURO 2022 on home soil was a catalyst for an uplift in women's and girls' football across the country
England winning EURO 2022 on home soil was a catalyst for an uplift in women's and girls' football across the country

All CFAs which provided data saw an increase for all girls' football - at every age level between grassroots and professional - over the same period.

There were 15 CFAs which did not provide figures and some may have included inactive teams in their data, such as those who stopped playing halfway through a season.

Baroness Sue Campbell, our director of women's football, said “The power football has to change lives has been opened up to a brand new generation of women and girls over this historic period.

“Much of the transformational growth we have seen over the last seven years has been spearheaded by our trailblazing Lionesses whose success in the home EUROs gave us an unprecedented chance to change the future of the game forever. The legacy of their victory has transcended society, turning inspiration into participation with more women and girls stepping forward to play, whilst leaving the game in a better place for the generations to come.

“As we look ahead to the next seven years and beyond, the priority is to make the game accessible to all women and girls, so that no matter their background or circumstance, all can access the benefits of football and the opportunities it can bring. Great strides are being made within this area, but change will not happen overnight and there is still a huge amount of work to do.”