Fiona McIntyre sets sights on record-breaking 2024 for SWPL

The league chief branded comments by Joey Barton on women's football as 'disappointing'.

Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) managing director Fiona McIntyre says the division is ready to break every record it set last year.

The league boss admits the Scottish game needs the national team to qualify for major tournaments again to help grow its support.

The SWPL broke attendance records and viewing figures in 2023, with a dramatic final day of action seeing Glasgow City win the league for the 15th time in 16 seasons.

And more than 15,000 fans were inside Parkhead to watch Celtic take on Hearts in May last year.

The league also received “record payments” last year including prize money from the Sky Sports Cup with more games being broadcast live.

McIntyre insists there is a drive within the women’s game to make even more history this year. Photo: SNSGroup.

McIntyre insists there is a drive within the women’s game to make even more history this year.

She told STV News: “Every record we broke last year, we want to break again.

“We don’t want to be standing still and say ‘we did a great job last year’. We want more people coming to our fixtures and more games on television.

“It is a constant drive to be better, and I hope that’s what we’re sitting here speaking about next year, that everything we delivered this year was better than 2023.”

McIntyre believes some of the biggest challenges facing the women’s game include clubs not owning their venues and teams not being full time.

She added: “That is the challenge.

“We are trying to run a professional and commercial league, but at the same time we’re trying to be cognisant and understanding that all of our players aren’t full time yet.

“We want to make sure they’re included and feel part of the SWPL.”

She also hit back at comments from former Rangers star Joey Barton, who has made a series of negative remarks towards women’s football and female pundits in recent weeks.

McIntyre said: “It’s really disappointing in 2024 that we have someone that thinks that is an appropriate way to use what is a significant profile and platform he has in terms of numbers of followers.

“It says more about him than the people he speaks about.

“Most of them are hugely successful professionals who have earned their right to be where they are.”

The SWPL broke attendance and viewing records in 2023. Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group.

The managing director hopes the Scottish Women’s National Team can emulate Steve Clarke’s side in securing a spot at major European tournaments.

She said: “It makes a big difference.

“Even when Scotland weren’t in the Euros and World Cup on the women’s side, people were still talking about women’s football.

“We really want and need Scotland to be part of that and with the squad we have, we undoubtedly have the capability of getting there.

“I keep in touch with the players and I know they believe that. Hopefully the next campaign is a more successful one and we’re back where we belong soon.”

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