FA's strategic plan includes England major tournament win by 2024

FA targeting England major tournament victory by 2024; It has pledged 5,000 quality pitches for grassroots football; Governing body expecting £300m in financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic; Commitment to give same opportunities for girls as boys in school and club football

Image: The FA wants to see England's men's or women's team claim a major tournament victory over the next few years

The Football Association is targeting a major tournament success for its senior men's or women's team by 2024 as part of a new strategy document.

England reached the semi-finals of the most recent men's and women's World Cups in 2018 and 2019 respectively, but the FA has now set the ambition of going all the way to spark "transformational" change to participation levels.

It also intends to ensure girls are afforded the same opportunities to play football as boys at school and at clubs, build and deliver 5,000 quality pitches and establish a digital platform to assist grassroots volunteers with administration.

"International tournament success will be transformational for English football and inspirational for millions of boys and girls," the FA document said.

"Just look at the numbers - 35 million people watched England Men play Croatia in 2018 and 12 million saw England Women take on USA in 2019.

Gareth Southgate led England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia
Image: Gareth Southgate led England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia

"To achieve our ambition by 2024, we'll strive to deliver the best possible international team operations, coaching and development environment at St George's Park; continue to work with our partners in the game to enhance a talent pathway that gives players the best development opportunities; and foster an inclusive and empowering culture among winning England teams."

The FA expects losses of £300m as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic but hopes to mitigate that by maximising "the appeal and revenue" of its competitions such as the men's and women's FA Cups and the Women's Super League.

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Steph Houghton (L) and Lucy Bronze (R) helped the Lionesses reach the semi-finals of the 2019 Women's World Cup
Image: Steph Houghton (L) and Lucy Bronze (R) helped the Lionesses reach the semi-finals of the 2019 Women's World Cup

"We will work collaboratively with clubs, broadcasters and commercial partners to ensure that the reach both domestically and internationally of each competition is maximised, in turn driving revenue that can help to deliver our game-changing investments," the FA said.

The FA accepts the pandemic may "restrict what it can achieve" between now and 2024.

"No one can be certain when we will once again experience a 90,000 sell-out crowd at Wembley, or courses and classrooms full of learners, or clubhouses bustling with volunteers to support the return of many hundreds of thousands of players that have not togged out since February 2020," it said.

"Depending on how long this ambiguity remains, it may restrict what we can achieve over the next four years.

"Yet, we remain steadfast in our belief in the objectives outlined in this strategy, even if they end up requiring longer to achieve."

The Football Association has set ambitious targets for the next few years
Image: The Football Association has set ambitious targets for the next few years

The FA's CEO Mark Bullingham said: "Our new plan aims to take the FA and English football forward with bold leadership and ambitious targets to build on the progress of the past four years. 

"We cannot do it alone. Our vision remains to bring all parts of the game even closer together and leave a nation inspired.

"We have a unique ability to unite all parts of society - just cast your mind back to Russia 2018 or France 2019, when men's and women's FIFA World Cup fervour gripped the nation.

"Using our people and culture as the catalyst, we achieved some amazing things on our mission to rebuild the FA as a world class organisation - from doubling participation in the women's and girls' game to registering more than one million of our grassroots players online - a material step into the digital age.

"Looking towards 2024, our strategic plan builds on those strong foundations.

"We've set out our six Game Changer objectives and eight Serve the Game objectives. These demonstrate our determination to substantially change the fabric of the game and address key societal issues.

"In England, football must be a game where the opportunities for every girl to play are the same as for every boy. A game in which, wherever you live, you have easy access to a great, affordable facility on which to play. A game run by the latest digital tools - easily administered from a phone as part of everyday life, lessening the burden on our wonderful volunteers.

"Football must be a game which embraces diversity and battles discrimination. Everyone must be made to feel welcome on our pitches and our terraces.

"Discrimination is an unacceptable societal issue that football must play a key role in tackling.

"A game where our competitions, led by the Emirates FA Cup, Vitality Women's FA Cup and the Barclays FA Women's Super League, continue to be valued and revered at home and abroad.

"Nothing would unite the country more than celebrating a major tournament victory by a senior England team. We must create the best chance for this to happen, through world-class support and a seamless player pathway.

"In delivering this strategy, we'll seize on the remarkable togetherness and resilience our national game has shown in the face of COVID-19 and use it as a force for good.

"As a not-for-profit  governing  body, we've had to make difficult financial decisions to future-proof ourselves from the impact of the pandemic, yet with this strategy we are reaffirming our intent to shoot for these ambitious goals which, if achieved, will improve the health and wellbeing of millions of individuals.

"Impacting communities, realising the benefits that come with a healthier and more engaged population - football can deliver huge positive change across the country."

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