Manchester FA’s latest appointment to its Board of Directors, Karen Bardsley, has outlined her plans as Independent Non-Executive Director for Women and Girls’ Football in Manchester.
The Manchester City ‘keeper, who has been capped 81 times by England, has been tasked with continuing the growth in participation of women and girls in football.
213 clubs, and approximately 3,500 female players, were affiliated to Manchester FA for the 2019/20 season. That represents a 10% growth compared with the previous season – and it is hoped that participation numbers will continue to rise among women and girls.
The rise in participation is in no small part down to the successes of the Lionesses in recent years, as well as both Manchester City and Manchester United boasting some of the best women’s teams in the country.
Funding at a grassroots level has increased too, with Manchester FA working to secure just under £75,000 of the Football Foundation’s Grow the Game funding scheme was targeted directly at growing female participation.
The Fund4Football, meanwhile, which Manchester FA uses from its disciplinary fees, has seen more than £18,000 invested directly into the female game since the beginning of the 2018/19 season.
Bardsley believes that all of this spells good news for the future of women and girls’ football in Manchester: “It’s a really exciting time for football in the city, with Manchester also hosting games at the 2022 European Championships, and it’s been amazing to see participation numbers increase in recent years and especially since I moved to the UK in 2013.
“From my work with the Manchester FA so far, I know that younger girls are at the forefront of that too, with Wildcats centres proving to be a brilliant way of introducing girls of a primary school age into football, and I can’t wait to help that community to develop and grow.”
“I’ve been very lucky to experience playing at the highest level in different countries in my career, as well as getting to represent my country on the international stage.
“And alongside playing with City, I’m so excited to now focus on increasing participation numbers of women and girls’ playing football in Manchester. It’s something that is very close to my heart and I really do believe that women and girls’ football has a bright future here.
To find out more about Karen Bardsley’s role with Manchester FA, including media enquiries, please contact Manchester FA below.
Contact Manchester FA