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Fan groups back heritage project in the women’s game

A £1m Lottery Heritage fund project to chart and archive the history of the women’s game has been backed by supporters in the women’s game.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £500,000 to a programme which will record the hidden history of women’s football and launch a celebration of the game and its players alongside the Women’s European Championship this summer.

With additional funding coming from the FA and host city local authorities, the project will create an updateable archive of every England player, captain, goalscorer and match results since 1972 – the year the ban on women’s football was lifted.

Professor Jean Williams, who will be leading the historical research to support the programme, said: “This National Lottery funded programme is of enormous significance as the first nationally coordinated project of its kind to, firstly collect the history of women’s football in England, and secondly to share that unique heritage with the widest possible public audience.

“We are finding new artefacts and stories all the time, and are excited to share how women, and girls have historically pioneered football.”

Fan groups in the FSA’s recently-formed Women’s Network backed the funding application.

In May 2021, supporter representatives from varying groups across the network (including The Gang, Bristol City Supporters Club and Trust, Manchester United Women’s Supporters’ Club, the Proud Lilywhites, Manchester City Women’s Official Supporters Club) took part in two consultation sessions to help inform and support the heritage funding application process.

Their supporting letter said: “Supporter legacy is fundamental to Euro 2022 and building this legacy means highlighting what supporters have done since 1881 and are doing to aid the growth and development of the women’s game.

“This project will be game-changing for women’s sport in terms of football and heritage.”

 

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