Last year the FSF began looking at work supporting fans in the women's game. FSF national council member and Sunderland Ladies season ticket holder Ian Todd tells us more about the progress being made...
As the England Women commence their attempt to be crowned Euro 2017 Champions, it is timely to assert that the FSF is not just interested in, or supportive of, the men’s game.
We know that many fans take an interest in the women's game or are parents of daughters who play at school or in local teams. We are keen to hear from them and to represent any hopes or concerns they may have about the development of the sport.
Since the success of Team GB in the London Olympics and the widespread publicity and appreciation the women’s game attracted, the Football Association has progressively enhanced the resources it has dedicated to its development.
The establishment of a semi-professional Women’s Super League (WSL), along with its TV and radio coverage, has perhaps the highest profile but it has been supported by the establishment of a Talent Pathway and licensing of Regional Talent Clubs.
More recently, the FA has established new posts to develop further the number of female football coaches and referees.
So how can the FSF take part - and help?
Last October we invited fans with an interest in the game to identify themselves and their level of interest with a view to setting up a small internal discussion group.
We were delighted with the response and some interesting exchanges have taken place which formed an agenda for a first (hopefully of many) face-to-face meeting with the FA, which took place in May.
So what happens next? One of the early problems identified by our group was the paucity of consultative mechanisms which existed between the FA and supporters of the women’s game.
A Fans’ Panel existed for WSL clubs but few knew about it or who represented them. We have since identified contacts from within our membership for most of those clubs and would now like to extend the process to supporters of Women’s Premier League Clubs.
So if you feel confident of representing supporters of teams at that level let us know who you are by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
More importantly go and watch a game! Fixtures for the coming winter season will be issued shortly.
Other than at the top level, the media are not very good at advertising when and where games are to be played. But you can find out about WSL games on the FA's WSL website and for games in the tiers below at the FA's Full-Time page.
If you are an affiliate or sssociate FSF member consider how you can extend your interest to the women’s club associated to your own team, or, if there isn’t one, a local ladies team.
Identify to us one of your members, possibly different from your normal prime contact, who we can get in touch with if there is an issue which might affect that side or the league in which they play. Think about forming a separate supporters’ club for the ladies’ team and register them as an FSF member.
None of the above should of course exclude individual members from whom we are equally keen to hear if they have an interest.
The FSF has a healthy working relationship with both the Premier League and the English Football League and there is no reason why it should not develop an equally positive dialogue with the FA on women’s football. But we cannot hope to achieve that without the interest and support of our membership. So it’s over to you!
Thanks to joshjdss for the image used in this blog. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.