England’s Lionesses have sent an open letter to the government urging them to ensure all girls have access to football in schools.
The Lionesses lifted their first-ever major trophy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday when they beat Germany in extra time to clinch the UEFA European Championship.
Her victory has sparked renewed calls for further development of women’s football and greater grassroots participation by girls.
And in a letter to leadership candidates Sunak and Truss, Lionesses called for all schoolgirls to be allowed at least two hours a week for physical education, saying “this generation of schoolgirls deserves more.”
The open letter, signed by the Lionesses squad, read: “Dear Sir/Madam. History was made on Sunday evening. The dreams of 23 women came true. England became European champions for the first time in history.
“During Euro we spoke as a team about our legacy and our aim to inspire a nation. Many will think that this has already been achieved, but we see this as only the beginning.
“We look to the future. We want to bring about real change in this country and we ask you, when you become Prime Minister on September 5th, to help us bring about that change.
“We want every young girl in the country to be able to play football at school.
“Currently, only 63% of girls can play soccer in physical education classes. The reality is that we inspire young girls to play soccer, only many end up going to school and not being able to play.
“It’s something we all experienced growing up. We were often stopped from playing. So we put together our own teams, traveled around the country and against all odds we just kept playing football.
“Women’s football has come a long way. But there is still a long way to go.
“We are asking you and your government to ensure all girls have access to at least two hours of sport a week. We should not only offer football to all girls, but also invest in and support female physical education teachers.
“Their role is vital and we must provide them with the resources to provide girls’ football coaching. They are important role models for so many young girls to thrive on.
“We’ve made incredible strides in women’s football, but this generation of schoolgirls deserves more. They deserve to play football at lunchtime, they deserve to play football in PE and they deserve to believe that one day they can play for England. We want your dreams to come true too.
“This is an opportunity to make a big difference. A change that will affect the lives of millions of young girls. We – the 23 members of the England Senior Women’s Euro squad – urge you to make investing in girls’ football in schools a priority so that every girl has a choice.
“Best regards, the UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 squad.”
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