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Karen Carney's game-changing blueprint: Elevating women's football to new heights

In the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, Karen Carney MBE has published the findings and recommendations of her review into women’s football.  The review is hot on the back of the Lionesses success at the UEFA Women’s EUROs in 2022.

Carney’s report looks at the current state of the women’s game and makes ten recommendations to improve the sporting environment for participants and fans of women’s football (which, rightly, is a growing group).  The recommendations include ensuring the company tasked with running the Women’s Super League (the WSL) settle for nothing less than world leading standards for players, fans and staff; making the WSL and Women’s Championship are fully professional, with minimum operating standards, gold standard mental and physical health services for the players, elite training facilities, and funding full union representation for players. 

The recommendations also look at the current broadcast position.  Last year, the majority of WSL matches kicked off at 11.30am on Saturdays and 6.45pm on Sundays.  The review suggests that broadcasters and the leagues (including the Premier League and EFL) work together to carve out prime time slots for coverage of the WSL. 

The recommendations also look at the provision of facilities at a grassroots level for women and girls’ football, suggesting that the government, local authorities, The FA and Premier League work together to ensure proper access to grass roots facilities. 

Last year Irwin Mitchell published its own report looking at the value of sport to regional economies.  The recommendations from that report, as they relate to women’s sport, overlap and are consistent with those put forward by Karen Carney MBE. 

With participation, interest and support for women’s sport (at all levels) at an all time high, let’s hope Carney’s review and recommendations are now actioned. 

Domestic women's football could become a "billion pound industry" in 10 years' time says former Lionesses midfielder Karen Carney - the chair of a major review into the sport.

Her 126-page report recommends the top two tiers of women's football in England being fully professional.

It also calls for a new regular broadcast slot for women's football to be made available on television.

"It is what needs to be done, to move the sport forward," Carney said.”