The UK government has endorsed the recommendations put forth by Karen Carney to enhance the standards of women’s football in England, including supporting the Football Association and NewCo in the full professionalization of the women’s game.
The government commissioned former England player Carney in September 2022 to undertake an independent review after England won the Women’s European Championship by beating Germany in the final.
Carney published her findings in July 2023, outlining key recommendations aimed at leveraging the success of the England women’s team and establishing a pathway towards a successful and sustainable commercial future for domestic women’s football.
On Monday, the UK government said Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has accepted the recommendations from Carney’s review and has challenged FA and wider stakeholders to go further and set a new standard for women’s sport.
The government’s statement came shortly after the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship clubs agreed to form a club-owned organization called NewCo, short for a new company, to oversee women’s professional league football in England starting from the 2024-25 season, replacing the Football Association.
The government has pledged support for the FA and NewCo as custodians of the women’s game to implement the following recommendations:
- Implement world-leading standards for players, fans, staff, and everybody involved in the women’s game
- Improve the talent pathway to ensure generations of world-beating Lionesses
- Address the lack of diversity in the game on and off the pitch
- Alongside Premier
League, EFL and broadcasters, carve out a dedicated slot for women’s football
- Raise club standards for fan engagement
- Alongside the Premier League and Football Foundation improve funding flows across the pyramid to enhance facilities
- Utilise the change in administration to further develop the National League and grassroots game
The government said it will also establish a separate Board of Women’s Sports in the new year, bringing together industry leaders to address common themes and challenges by different sports, share best practices and research, and accelerate the growth of women’s sport beyond women’s football.
Culture Secretary Frazer said: “I’d like to thank Karen for her detailed review which has delivered a clear blueprint for the future of women’s football from the grassroots up to the elite level.
“We are completely committed to delivering equal access to sport for girls in schools, alongside an unprecedented £400 million investment in grassroots facilities outside of school.
“We must collectively seize the moment and deliver sustained commercial success for the women’s game, and fully support The FA and NewCo to drive forward the full professionalization of the game.”
Carney, who now works as a football pundit, said: “I’m encouraged that the government is providing their full backing to my review and renewing their commitment to develop women’s football in the UK and fulfil its potential to be a world-beating sport.
“The real work begins now.”
“I hope the additional investment and support from the government is the boost for The FA, the incoming NewCo, and other stakeholders of the game to rally around this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform domestic women’s football for generations to come.”