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UK govt creates equal sport access for girls

England captain Leah Williamson has welcomed a substantial government package which will seek to create equal school sport opportunities for girls.

Schools in England will be required to offer equal access to sports, including football, and deliver a minimum of two hours of physical education per week.

More than £600m of funding is to be delivered over two academic years.

It comes after the 23 members of England’s Euro 2022-winning squad wrote an open letter to the government.

Williamson said the Lionesses wanted “to open the doors” for young girls as part of their legacy following last summer’s success, beginning with changes in school sport.

“The success of the summer has inspired so many young girls to pursue their passion for football,” said Williamson, who identified team-mate Lotte Wubben-Moy as a key driving force.

“We see it as our responsibility to open the doors for them to do so and this announcement makes that possible. This is the legacy that we want to live much longer than us as a team.”

Wubben-Moy said: “By making football more accessible to millions of girls across the nation, we have opened a crucial door for the growth of women’s football and women’s sport as a whole. I am proud to be part of something that will live on for generations to come.

According to Football Association figures, only 67% of all schools and 41% of secondary schools offer football equally to girls in PE lessons, and only 46% of schools provide the same extracurricular opportunities as boys.

“The funding package will encompass both school sport and after-school activities, while an additional £57m will be made available to open sport facilities outside of school hours and the School Games Organisers network will receive £22m”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Last year the Lionesses’ victory changed the game. Young girls know when they take to the pitch that football is for them and, thanks to the Lionesses, they too could be a part of the next generation to bring it home for their country, We want schools to build on this legacy.”

The announcement coincides with International Women’s Day, when more than 200,000 girls will participate in the FA’s Let Girls Play events in schools across the country.

Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Julian Osamoto