Soccer-UK government backs Carney review of women's game

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - February 24, 2023 Sky Sports pundit Karen Carney before the match REUTERS/David Klein

(Reuters) -The UK government said on Monday it backed the recommendations in former England international Karen Carney's review of domestic women's soccer, with culture secretary Lucy Frazer calling it a "defining moment" for the women's game.

Among 10 recommendations laid out in the July review, Carney had called for the Women's Super League (WSL) and Championship to become fully professional environments and for women's soccer to have a dedicated broadcast slot.

"Our attention will be on making them a reality, and holding the football industry to account for their success," the government said of the recommendations.

The government will also set up an implementation group for the review's recommendations consisting of the FA, incoming women's soccer governing body NewCo and others stakeholders.

Frazer said she was confident the measures could propel the women's game even further and set the "standard for women's sport as a whole".

"We are completely committed to delivering equal access to sport for girls in schools, alongside an unprecedented £400 million ($507 million) investment in grassroots facilities," she said in a statement.

A 30 million-pound investment with the FA will build around 30 new 3G pitches and facilities prioritising women's and girls' teams, the UK government said.

The FA agreed with the government's proposal for a dedicated broadcast slot for women's soccer but said the review didn't recommend where the additional revenue would come from.

"The FA is continuing discussions with future strategic partners, but before then additional seed funding is likely to come from within football," they said in a statement.

"The FA doesn’t necessarily recommend that the women’s game should receive solidarity payments from the men’s game for the running of the League, however we would support specific solidarity payments to support the player pathway."

The FA also said they had doubled the prize money in the Women's FA Cup, adding the WSL and Championship were "already professional leagues" and they would continue to improve them.

Former Arsenal and Chelsea player Carney described the government's additional investment and support as a "once in a lifetime opportunity to transform domestic women's football for generations to come".

"The real work begins now," she added.

($1 = 0.7887 pounds)

(Reporting by Chiranjit Ojha in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge)

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