The start of something new?
On Wednesday, Barclays announced the biggest investment ever in UK women’s sport, by revealing their 10 million pound sponsorship deal with the FA Women’s Super League. Barclays will be the title sponsor of the league which will take effect from the 2019-20 season.
The Barclays partnership with The FA will run until July 2020.
With the multi-million pound partnership in place, it will see the league renamed as ‘Barclays FA Women’s Super League’. This incredible investment shows the scope for development in women’s football and how businesses are recognising that this is the future, meaning it is an industry that they would be stupid to not invest in. Over the past 18 years in Europe, women’s football has seen a dramatic rise in participation levels, therefore proving it is becoming a football attraction in its own right. The total number of registered female players, of all ages, currently stands at numbers over 1.270 million, a huge increase compared to the years before.
The new partnership will involve Barclays and The FA working in cohesion to drive the growth of women’s football, starting right from the grassroots level. The deal includes Barclays being the main partner of the FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships, a nationwide mission to help develop the awareness, access and participation levels to girls’ football within schools. Not only this, but a network of hubs will deliver bespoke FA programmes for their local network of schools, which means more girls will be engaged and excited to make football a part of their everyday life. Collaborations with The FA and The Youth Sports Trust will allow for the development to take place.
Jess Staley, Group CEO of Barclays, stated to The FA: “Our commitment to women’s and girls football, at a crucial time in its development, goes beyond pure sponsorship – we believe it can be a key to increasing participation, development and the wider visibility of the female game.”
Currently, the FAWSL is the only professional domestic female football league in Europe, which shows why Barclays had a desire to invest. With the partnership, it means that they can help The FA to develop women’s football in England, giving it the recognition and funding that it needs to change perceptions and advance globally. Not only this, but the deal also includes an annual £500,000 prize fund for the league, which will be distributed regarding final positions of the teams in the 2019-20 season.
Barclays are now advocates of both women’s and men’s football at top tier level and this is something that should be admired. It is clear that Barclays fully understand the direction in which the football industry is heading and want to achieve success for both the business itself and the footballing world.
This groundbreaking deal shows huge steps in the right direction.