Barclays doubles investment in women's and girls' football across the FA Women's Super League, sponsoring the Women's Championship for the first time and grassroots programmes
Barclays, the FA and the Premier League have announced new three-year deals to extend the bank’s sponsorships of the football organisations’ elite competitions from the start of the 2022-23 season until the end of the 2024-25 season.
The renewals come as Barclays and the Premier League celebrate 20 years since the bank first partnered with the League under the Barclaycard brand in 2001.
Barclays will invest more than £30m in women’s and girls’ football over the period from 2022-2025, doubling the existing investment, and setting a new record for investment in UK women’s sport. The announcement follows its groundbreaking deal with the FA* in 2019 when the bank became the inaugural title sponsor of the FA Women’s Super League.
The bank will also become the first title sponsor of the FA Women’s Championship. The league will be called the Barclays FA Women’s Championship from the start of the 2022-23 season, as Barclays and the FA aim to support the development of the second tier of the women’s competition pyramid and encourage further investment in women’s football.
Barclays will also increase its investment in girls’ grassroots development, extending its sponsorship of the FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships (FAGFSP) with the aim of giving girls equal access to football in schools.
Since Barclays became sponsor of the FAGFSP in 2019 it has seen 9700 new schools join the scheme taking the total to over 12,000**. The increased funding will help the FA expand the number of people working on the programme and achieve the aim of 20,000 schools offering football to girls by 2024.
To encourage participation in football at every level, from January 2022 an innovative new Barclays community fund will be offering grants and support resources to grassroots groups. Barclays have partnered with UK-wide charity Sported to make small grants available for groups wishing to start offering football, or those keen to expand their existing provision to new audiences. Details will be announced at a later date, but the fund will primarily support young people in deprived or underrepresented areas through local organisations, many of whom are not yet benefiting from the wider football pyramid.
Sasha Wiggins, group head of public policy and corporate responsibility at Barclays, said: “We're delighted to announce the agreements with the FA and Premier League at a time when we are celebrating our long term commitment to English football. Collectively we have been through extraordinarily difficult times over the last 18 months and over that time football has done much to help raise spirits and bring people together. Yet we are also aware that this is an important time to drive equity across the game. The doubling of our investment in women’s and girls’ football, whilst continuing to support men’s football, and providing finance to the smallest football organisations through the new community fund, is the right way to support the future of the game for everyone’s benefit.”
Kelly Simmons, FA director of women’s professional game, added: “Barclays have played a crucial role in the growth of women’s and girls’ football, so it is excellent news that they are committing to a new record investment in the women’s and girls’ pyramid until 2025. As part of our 2020-2024 Women’s and Girls’ strategy, Inspiring Positive Change, we set ourselves the ambition of providing equal access for all girls at 90 per cent of primary and secondary schools in the UK, and Barclays continued support and investment has allowed us to make great strides in achieving this ambition.
“From grassroots to the top tiers of women’s football, we are also extremely excited to welcome Barclays as the new title sponsor of the FA Women’s Championship. The FA Women’s Championship plays a pivotal role in the ongoing development of the pyramid structure and the credible history and association to football that Barclays has will make the league even stronger.”
Will Brass, Premier League Chief Commercial Officer, said: "Barclays has always been a fantastic partner of the Premier League, and we are very pleased to be extending our long-standing association for another three years.
“Over two decades Barclays has demonstrated their support for football, both on and off the pitch. And together we share an ambition of creating opportunities at all levels and ensuring everyone is welcome to enjoy the game. We look forward to further developing our relationship over the coming years."
To mark the new partnerships, representatives from the Premier League, The FA and Barclays were joined by Barclays Football Ambassador Kelly Smith at Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub in west London. A coaching session for girls from a local school was taking place at the facility, which officially launched earlier this year following funding from the Premier League, the FA and Government’s charity, the Football Foundation.
*Barclays agreed to invest in excess of £15m over the three years from 2019-22 that included the title sponsorship of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, becoming lead partner of the FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships and agreed spending on promoting the game during this period. Nielsen confirmed this as a record at the time, and believes the new investment will be the biggest investment by a brand in UK women’s sport to date.
**In 2019, the FAGFSP had 3000 schools signed up to the initiative, by December 2021 this has reached 12,778 which is 55 per cent of the 2024 target.