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On and off the pitch – 2022 was an historic year for women’s football

We all know that 2022 was an historic year for women’s football on these shores, with the Lionesses’ Euros victory making a huge impact and turning their players into household names.

Encouragingly this isn’t just an “elite” phenomenon and the FA have released a raft of stats which point to the growth of women’s football at all levels.

The FA says there has been “unprecedented growth” in relation to participation and match attendance and it’s something the FSA is 100% behind.

From a matchgoers perspective the total attendance at last year’s Euros was 574,875, double that of the previous tournament, while the final was watched by 87,192 – a competition record.

Domestically Women’s Super League attendance was up 227% on last season while the Championship saw an astonishing 86% rise. League attendance records were broken at Arsenal (47,367) and in the second tier at Sheffield United (11,137). 

Half of all the Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship clubs have broken an individual club and/or stadium record so far this season while 49,094 attended May’s FA Cup final – another record.

Participation

The FSA’s main focus is always on matchgoing fans but the wider levels of participation and awareness are really encouraging, and will hopefully ensure attendances continue to grow.

The Lionesses smashed through into the cultural mainstream with a peak TV audience of 17.4m on BBC watching the Euros final – and Beth Mead winning the BBC’s sports personality of the year. Mead also won the FSA’s Women’s Player of the Year award back in November.

At grassroots level the FA report that interest in women’s football is up 12% amongst girls aged 5-16 in England with 7,800 girls and women newly registered and playing in clubs across the nine Euro host cities. Additionally, 3,500 schools “engaged” in the tournament.

The FA also say there has been an enormous increase in bookings through the England Football ‘FindFootball’ tool while 150,000 girls are registered to take part in 2023’s Let Girls Play on International Women’s Day (8th March). 

  • If you’d like to hear more about the FSA’s work on women’s football email Deborah Dilworth and check out this page

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