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Number of women playing football almost doubles in five years

The number playing rugby also showed a sharp increase across the same period of time.

Number of women playing football almost doubles in five years SNS Group
The rising profile of professional sport has been credited with the increase.

The number of women playing either football or rugby union has almost doubled in the last five years, latest figures show.

In 2015, some 9,286 women were playing football in Scotland, with the figure now at 17,230.

The Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (Spice) found rugby union has gone from 3,932 players to 7,030 over the same period.

There was a marked increase in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, according to the figures.

SNP MSP and deputy convener of Holyrood’s Sport Committee Emma Harper said: “I am very pleased to see such an increase in the number of women taking up some of Scotland’s most popular sports – especially football and rugby union.

“The increase in the number of women taking part in sport is in no small part to the greater exposure it has had in the past few years.

“We have seen success with Shelley Kerr leading the Scotland women’s team to the World Cup in 2018 and with qualification for the women’s rugby union world championships being expanded it gives us great hope we’ll see Scotland on the international stage again.”

She continued: “2020 has been a tough year for sports, but the funding package recently announced by the SNP government will help sports get back on their feet.

“I hope the upward trajectory for Scottish sport continues in the future and women and girls continue to be inspired to take part.”