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FA announces bump in women’s FA Cup prize money

Following on from fan campaigning the total prize money for the Women’s FA Cup will increase to £3m next season with a “disproportionate” amount going into the early rounds.

The FA announced last week that the competition will have a seven-fold rise – from £428,915 to £3m available to the 417 teams competing this season.

“A disproportionate amount of this new fund will be invested into the early rounds of the competition,” the Football Association said. “This will ensure those clubs further down the pyramid really feel the benefit.”

The FA’s move was welcomed by supporters in the women’s game who asked the governing body for any funding increase to be targeted at the early rounds.

Supporters and fan groups in the FSA’s women’s game network wrote to the FA last month outlining a few key principles relating to the Women’s FA Cup and associated governance issues. They were:

  • No-one should “pay to play” in the Women’s FA Cup.
  • Increased funding should be steered towards clubs in the early rounds of the competition.
  • Everyone in football should actively support the establishment of a separate review into governance in the women’s game.

One member of the network, D-M Withers from Bristol City Supporters’ Club and Trust, said: “The increase in prize money for the Women’s FA Cup is a good start, but we still have a long way to go.

“Full equality and fair redistribution of funds to uplift the whole of the women’s – and men’s game – is the ultimate goal.”

Now that the increased prize fund for the Women’s FA Cup has been agreed, the FA said work will begin on how that money is divided and allocated.

Currently, many clubs struggle to participate in the competition as prize money does not cover the costs of competing. Clapton Community FC launched a crowdfunding campaign to help them get to away games on a run to the third round.

Stuart Barker, founder of the women’s game blog Since 71 said: “This move should be celebrated but I am slightly cautious about getting too carried away until the FA share how they will allocate this increased prize money. For me, it must be weighted more towards the earlier rounds that feature grassroots clubs.”

Chair of Birmingham City Women Supporters’ Group Craig Hadley has been looking at how the prize money could be distributed – you can see how it might look here.

The FA’s director of women’s football Sue Campbell said: “This increased investment highlights that we want clubs competing in it to be rewarded, while also highlighting our ongoing commitment to the women’s game.

“Women’s football continues to be in a growth phase and we are always looking to make improvements and investment to drive it forward and break new boundaries.”

The growth of the women’s game is something which the FSA celebrates and our Women’s Game Network is keen to engage positively with the FA to ensure supporter voices are heard as the sport develops.

The network, made up of FSA-affiliated and associated supporters’ groups, was formally constituted within the FSA in 2020 and has three representatives on our National Council.

Women’s football lead at the FSA Deborah Dilworth said: “We are happy to see the increase in prize money but believe our principles are vital to further developing the competition and the women’s game as a whole.

“Closing the gap between the top and the bottom is central to ensuring we have a healthy pyramid in the women’s game. If you want to help us realise that, get involved with your local fan group and the FSA.”

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