Women's football centre of excellence to open in Chichester

A successful Chi City Ladies team have helped women's football grow in the Chichester area
A successful Chi City Ladies team have helped women's football grow in the Chichester area

A high-performance football centre for women is to open at the University of Chichester after proposals were approved by the FA.

The foundation, which will be overseen by the governing body, intends to develop females in the game as players and coaches in top-quality academic facilities.

The plans are part of a largescale programme by the Football Association to double participation rates among women and girls across the south of England by 2020.

Professor Mike Lauder, Director of the University’s Institute of Sport, said the centre will help to drive the game forward, remove social barriers, and create pathways to the highest levels.

He added: “We have a long heritage of women's performance sport at Chichester and supporting the next generation of athletes through world-leading research and practice.

“The centre will enable us to develop our research within the game and contribute to the FA's performance plan, drawing on our excellence in teaching sport performance and coaching.

“This four-year project will enhance participation of girls and women from grassroots to high performance and provide a clear and structured route to success.”

The women’s high-performance football centre opening at the University will build on its existing collaborations with Portsmouth, Southampton, and Brighton and Hove Albion football clubs, which currently provide coaching opportunities for its students.

The FA’s decision to approve the foundation is part of its Gameplan to Growth programme, launched earlier this year, that intends to build a sustainable and successful high-performance system for female footballers.

Up to ten centres, including the one at Chichester, will open across the country from next year to increase the number of girls and women in football to six million within three years.

The programme also aims to develop a pipeline of world-class talent by creating a pathway for women and girls to compete from grassroots to international competitions.

Baroness Sue Campbell CBE, the Head of Women’s Football at the FA, is responsible for the high-performance football centres across the UK.

She said: “The establishment of these centres is a further proof point of the FA’s commitment to transform the future of women’s football in England.

“They will ensure aspiring coaches and talented players in all parts of the country have access to the best training and support possible, providing us with the greatest opportunity for success at all levels of international football.”

The FA’s Gameplan to Growth programme is set to work with the ten approved centres at universities across the UK, including Chichester, to deliver its plan of increasing the number of diversity of women’s coaches, referees, and administrators at all levels.

It will also develop participation opportunities and infrastructure as well as to provide a full competition review and improve the commercial prospects of the Women’s leagues.

To find out more about women’s football at the University of Chichester visit www.ucsu.org/club.

Alternatively for more about the Women’s High-Performance Football Centre or the FA’s Gameplan to Growth programme go to www.thefa.com/women.