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Fans want dedicated TV slot for the women’s game – FSA survey

There is overwhelming support for the creation of a dedicated TV slot for the women’s game, according to the results of an FSA survey of thousands of matchgoing fans. 

Nine-in-ten fans (90.7%) supported the recommendation from the 2023 Carney Review that the Premier League, EFL and broadcasters should work to create a dedicated broadcast slot for women’s games, which would reduce the uncertainty around when televised fixtures would take place.

Eight-in-ten respondents (79.7%) said that TV had too much say in kick-off times currently.

The survey, completed by 3,474 fans from across all levels of the women’s game, asked fans for their views on a range of topics, from governance and competition structure to broadcast and media, refereeing and their matchday experience.

A new era

The 2024/25 season will see a new company (NewCo) take over the running and administration of the top two flights in the women’s game from the FA, although a significant proportion of fans – four-in-ten (39.9%) – said they were largely unaware of its creation.

When it comes to the future of the game, fans’ concerns centre around the need for rules to ensure clubs are run sustainably (85.1% of respondents in favour), revenue sharing from the top of the game to the National League (81.2%), and the need for Championship clubs to have an equal say alongside WSL clubs (76.2%). 

Six-in-ten fans (61.4%) said they were concerned about the potential for the concentration of power at the top of the WSL.

Refereeing

Echoing a theme from the FSA’s previous survey in 2022, there is strong support among fans for making all referees full-time professionals in the women’s game to improve refereeing standards (88.9% were in favour), as well as for the introduction of goalline technology (83.1%). 

While the majority of fans surveyed would support the introduction of VAR (54%) there’s a significant minority who are opposed to its introduction (31.9%). 

However, almost half (46.3%) of the fans we spoke to do think the quality of match officials has improved in recent seasons with less than a quarter (22.3%) disagreeing.

Other stats

– There was strong support for greater financial redistribution from the men’s game to support women’s football – 84.1% were in favour

– Only a third (31.8%) say there’s sufficient coverage of women’s football in mainstream media (up from 26% in 2022). 

– One-in-six fans (16%) said they had decided not to attend a game they otherwise would have as it was being shown on TV

– There’s been a growth in fans who only follow the women’s game – a fifth of respondents (19.7%) said they didn’t follow a men’s team, up from 12.6% in 2022. 

The FSA’s head of women’s football Deborah Dilworth said: “Our survey results provide us with a vital insight into the views of fans, and we will use the findings to support our work in advocating for supporters across all levels of the women’s game as we work with NewCo, the FA, government and other stakeholders in the game, to ensure their views are heard.”

Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball