England FA and English Football League (EFL) Trust have agreed an expansion programme to boost women’s football.
The Talent Inclusion Programme (TIP) aims to identify female footballers within local communities who have promising talent, with a pathway created towards achieving success and places within the England squad.
The scheme has already seen 32 EFL clubs participate with 123 referrals consequently made to the FA Women’s England Talent Pathway, which has led to one player already receiving an international call-up at Under-15s level whilst 19% are under close monitoring with two players on national camps.
34% of the 123 referrals came from low social economic communities, with 16% of referred players coming from a ‘ethnically diverse background.’
The TIP though will now be expanded with 22 new clubs joining the scheme with an aim of ensuring that social class, ethnicity and demographics don’t act as barriers to future success within football, amidst scrutiny over the BAME representation within the current England Lionesses squad.
EFL Clubs will be encouraged to ensure that activities are developed and tailored based on their local community, with view to referring youngsters with potential to the FA Women’s England Talent Pathway for monitoring.
Nicol Meredith, Talent Inclusion Project Manager at the EFL Trust, stated that the Lionesses’ success at UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 on home soil means that developing and uncovering hiddent talent is “crucial” to the sport’s future, regardless of a player’s social background.
On the importance of the TIP for female players from poor communities, Meredith said: “The Talent Inclusion Programme provides young women and girls in those areas with an exciting opportunity and we are delighted that 54 EFL Clubs will now be part of the programme.”
FA’s Head of Women’s Technical, Kay Cossington added that expanding this partnership forms “a crucial part of our strategic priority to ensure any girl from any social class, ethnicity and demographic gets an opportunity,” to develop talent and rise up the footballing ladder.
Cossington also iterated the EFL Trust’s support means that there are now 54 programmes with clubs within various communities, with the shared aim of identifying talent and placing them on a pathway with view of nurturing their potential in the quest to reach professional club and international football.
Cossington also acknowledged the importance of continuing with progress to ensure that football is ultimately represented properly within the Lionesses squad, as she commented: “We know there is a lot more work to be done but we’re confident this will have a tangible impact on the game and the future of England teams.”
This announcement comes just hours before Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses play their final match of 2022, against Norway in an international friendly at Pinatar Arena, Spain.