England Women set World Cup victory target as part of FA's 'Inspiring Positive Change' strategy

FA's eight-points plan also includes targets to provide greater opportunities for primary school girls to play football, as well as plans to make domestic leagues and competitions the best in the world

England captain Steph Houghton
Image: England Women captain Steph Houghton has backed the FA's 'Inspiring Positive Change' campaign

England Women have been set the target of winning the World Cup or European Championship by 2024 after the FA launched an eight-point plan for women's and girls' football called 'Inspiring Positive Change'.

The initiative includes plans to provide greater opportunities for girls to participate in football at every level, from primary school onwards, as well as empowering women to develop as coaches and referees.

England are due to host the Women's European Championship in 2022 and the Women's World Cup takes place in Australia and New Zealand the following year, both providing the opportunity to achieve one key target which simply reads: England - win a major tournament.

Other key targets at elite level include England regaining their top-three position in the FIFA Rankings; selling out Wembley for the Women's FA Cup final and doubling the average WSL attendance from 3,000 to 6,000; increasing TV viewing figures; as well as improving stadiums and facilities in the WSL and Women's Championship.

As for grassroots and development-level football, the blueprint includes targets to ensure at least 90 per cent of all primary school-aged girls to have equal access to football in schools and clubs, as well as the creation of a national teenage-girl-specific programme to increase participation, including links with more than 1,000 clubs.

England lost to eventual winners Netherlands in the semi-finals in 2017 2:32
Sue Smith gives her view on the FA's plans to increase quality and access to women’s football across all levels.

There are also plans to increase diversity in the game; to increase number of female referees and coaches at both grassroots and pro level; to enable better relationships with clubs to create "player pathway" so players with potential don't get left behind; and to create 15,000 female leaders across game through FA programmes.

The eight-point strategy of transformational objectives to be achieved by 2024 is:

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  • EARLY PARTICIPATION - Every primary school-aged girl to have equal access to football in school and in clubs
  • DEVELOPMENT PARTICIPATION - Every girl to have equal access to participate for fun, for competition and for excellence
  • CLUB PLAYER PATHWAY - Collaborate with clubs to develop an effective high-performance, inclusive player-centred pathway
  • ELITE DOMESTIC LEAGUES AND COMPETITIONS - Create the best professional women's sports leagues and competitions in the world
  • ENGLAND - Win a major tournament
  • FOOTBALL FOR ALL - Recruit and support a motivated, diverse range of local leaders organising football for their communities
  • COACHING - Support the development of exceptional coaches at every level of the game who are representative of our society
  • REFEREEING - Ensure that every female referee is afforded high-quality bespoke learning and development opportunities from grassroots through to the elite game
Baroness Sue Campbell
Image: Baroness Sue Campbell wants to ensure there is access to football for every girl in the UK

Speaking at the launch of the new initiative, Baroness Sue Campbell, The Director of Women's Football at The FA, said: "Football has the power to change lives for the better. It can contribute to physical and mental wellbeing, it can provide opportunities to compete and collaborate with others, and it can help to shape the place of girls and women in wider society.

"Our new four-year strategy is based on understanding an individual's motivation to play - for learning, for recreation, for competition and for excellence. We want to ensure there is access and opportunity for every girl and woman to play, coach, spectate, officiate, manage or administer if they so wish and the game to be truly representative of our society across all characteristics and social backgrounds.

"The FA's new Inspiring Positive Change strategy will build upon the foundations created by The Gameplan for Growth and deliver truly transformational change to the women's and girls' game."

Steph Houghton, England Women's captain, is also positive about the plan.

"When I and many of my team-mates were girls, opportunities to play the game were few and far between, so to see the breadth and scale of The FA's ambitions in the next four years is extremely exciting," she said.

"From the incredible pledge to provide equal access to football for primary-aged girls, to the pathway created for the country's best talent to fulfil their potential - this strategy is truly game-changing.

"This new strategy will help provide opportunities for women and girls of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to fall in love with football and enjoy the many benefits that it can bring to their life."

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