Women’s football set for more representation with decision makers

Plans are in place to give women a bigger voice within the board structure at Hampden.

Women’s football set for more representation with decision makers SNS Group

Women’s football is set to get greater representation at the top of Scottish football’s decision-making bodies this year.

Many within women’s football have been frustrated with how they suffered more than the men’s game during the recent partial suspension of football.

While the top two men’s tiers were able to continue, all other leagues were suspended for two months earlier this year.

The Scottish Women’s Premier League 1 resumed last weekend but the second tier remains in limbo and the Scottish Football Association’s governance has come under scrutiny.

That is something Fiona McIntyre aims to resolve quickly after beginning her role as the SFA head of girls’ and women’s football last month.

McIntyre sits on the SFA’s non-professional game board because of her previous role with Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) but the women’s game has no representation on the main SFA board or the all-male professional game board.

McIntyre, who will launch a new strategy in the coming months, said: “It’s fair to say that it’s something that has been called out in the strategy and there’s a particular pillar in the strategy on governance and representation, and a commitment from the association to look at that representation and improve it for the girls’ and women’s game.

“I came in (to SWF) as a volunteer in 2014 and there were no professional players or broadcast and commercial contracts. Now we have nearly 40 professional players, 30 internationals in the league. Just look at the profile of the game last weekend with broadcast and live-streaming coverage along with those commercial sponsors.

“So we have quickly developed into a far more professional environment and in my view the governance hasn’t evolved as quickly as the game has. That’s something we are looking to address.

“There’s definitely a commitment. If you go back to 2014, representation on the non-professional game board made sense because the entire women’s game was non-professional.

“The game has evolved so we do need to look at the representation now. Other countries have women’s football committees so we need to examine different models and make sure we get it right, and I have certainly had a lot of encouragement and commitment from the association to do that.

“That is something I am going to take forward pretty soon within this calendar year.”

Some fear the momentum gained when Scotland qualified for the Women’s World Cup in 2019 has been lost but McIntyre is optimistic it can quickly be regained.

She is hopeful the costly need for Covid-19 testing will be removed in the middle of May and allow the top two divisions to be completed, and was delighted to see extra broadcast coverage last weekend, including a BBC highlights show.

“Encouragingly, we have got the Premier League back and post-pandemic we have more visibility than ever in terms of the broadcast coverage,” she said.

“Importantly for me, we have surveyed the clubs and 70-75 per cent are saying they haven’t lost numbers and some have actually increased numbers.

“So there are encouraging signs that although we had an acute short-term impact we can recover quickly and pick up the momentum we had with the World Cup.”

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