Lioness legend and Mayor of Manchester call on our schools to do more to get ladies into football

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham and former England international Karen Bardsley have joined with The FA to call on schools across the city-region to do more to help girls get into football

Now we all know Manchester is the home of football. After the nation inspiring successes of the Lionesses, It’s time to make it accessible to everyone.

The Mayor, alongside Lioness superstar Karen Bardsley are calling for more opportunities for ladies to get into football in Greater Manchester.

They have written to all schools in the Greater Manchester area, urging them to offer at least two hours of PE per week to girls, including more football sessions.

Their call has been backed by Manchester United and Lionesses striker Alessia Russo, who scored four goals at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 this summer.

Shocking statistics have shown that nationally, only 63 per cent of schools offer girls equal access to football in PE lessons, meaning more than a third are not getting the same opportunity to play in PE as boys.

In Greater Manchester, 906 of 1,271 schools are linked to a Barclays and FA Girls’ Football School Partnership by England Football, through which they have access to training, resources and support for girls’ football.

Of these schools, 70 per cent offer equal access to football in curriculum PE lessons for girls, while only 46 per cent offer equal access for girls to extracurricular football activities – on a par with the national average.

Karen Bardsley, former England international and Chair of the Greater Manchester Women’s Football Board, said: “The success of the Lionesses at this summer’s Euro’s marked a major milestone in the evolution of football in this country.

“So many were inspired by the success of the Lionesses – and here in Greater Manchester we want to capitalise on that success and deliver the legacy the England Women’s Team have championed.

“Every girl in Greater Manchester deserves the chance to play football at school and we’re determined to make that a reality here. From speaking to girls across the city-region I know how much confidence and enjoyment the sport can give, even leading to better attendance and performance in school.

“As our city gears up for a momentous Manchester derby at the Etihad this weekend, I’m proud to be working with Mayor Andy Burnham and the FA to help offer every girl in Greater Manchester the chance to follow in the footsteps of their heroes and become the next generation of Lionesses”

The call from the Mayor, Karen Bardsley, and Baroness Sue Campbell, Director of Women’s Football at The FA comes in the wake of England’s momentous victory at UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, and echoes the letter sent by the Lionesses to Government asking for girls to have access to a minimum of two hours a week of PE.

They also called for more investment and resources to support female PE teachers, in recognition of the crucial role they play as role models to school pupils.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Let’s not forget that it was the Lionesses who brought it home first at the Euros.

“They pledged to use their victory to create a lasting legacy for women’s football, and girls up and down the country will have been inspired to step out onto their school pitch, their local sports centre, or into their back garden and dream of playing for their country.

“That’s an opportunity that not all girls have at the moment, and that’s something we need to change.

“That’s why we set up the Greater Manchester Women’s Football Board, and why we’ve written to all schools in our city-region calling on them to ensure that all girls are offered at least two hours of PE every week, including football sessions.

“If we want Greater Manchester to be the home of even more footballing success for generations to come, let’s level the playing field and make sure every girl has the chance to play football and achieve their own dreams.”

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