FA kicks off series of campaigns to get more girls playing football as Euros heat up

The Football Association has launched four campaigns to encourage more women and girls to play football, as the England women's team kicks off its European Championships campaign.

#Lionesses: England women's football team are going for glory in The Netherlands
#Lionesses: England women's football team are going for glory in The Netherlands

The FA runs campaigns around its Girls' Football Week every year, but this year has extended it to a three-week initiative to run alongside the UEFA Women's European Championships, which are currently taking place in The Netherlands.

The tournament kicked off on 16 July and concludes on 6 August, with England beating Scotland 6-0 in its first match on Wednesday (19 July).

The FA has in the past struggled with its attempts to make the sport more attractive to girls - guidelines published last year that suggested girls use pink whistles and take Twitter breaks during football sessions were branded as sexist and criticised across media and social media, and male professional Ched Evans' now overturned rape conviction has reflected poorly on the sport's push for equality.

Disney Princesses

The first campaign - a three-year partnership between the FA and Disney - includes a number of England women's footballers "channelling their inner Disney Princess" in a series of short films created by comms group The Academy.

In the videos (see below) players discuss the attributes they share with Disney princesses and the barriers they have overcome in their football careers.


The second campaign, called Salute, calls on fans to show their support for the England women's team.

The campaign includes an edited version of the Little Mix song Salute, and features cameos from members of the men's and women's senior teams.

The campaign also urges fans to show their support by submitting a "salute" on social media using #Lionesses in the post.

England women's team - known as the "Lionesses" - opened their tournament with a 6-0 thrashing of Scotland. The team, which also beat Denmark 2-1, faces Spain on Sunday. 

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SSE Wildcats

The FA also launched SSE Wildcats, an initiative designed to provide girls with more opportunities to play football and take part in regular training sessions.

SSE Wildcats forms part of the FA's Gameplan for Growth strategy, which outlines the target of doubling the number of registered girls' teams from 6,000 to 12,000 by 2020.

FA Lidl Skills Programme

The fourth campaign sees the FA team up with budget supermarket Lidl to launch a series of coaching sessions for children aged 5-11. The three-year partnership will create 1.2 million opportunities for children to get more active and improve their footballing ability, the FA said.

The sessions, which cost an average of £2 each, are designed for boys and girls, and are implemented through football-based PE lessons and as part of school holiday camps.

FA participation and development director Kelly Simmons said: "Girls' Football Week has previously been a major success in terms of the participation of girls.

"With The FA's Gameplan for Growth and target to double participation of women and girls by 2020, we're looking to harness the excitement of the Lionesses involvement in the Euros to engage more girls than ever before to take part in football."

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