Adidas has announced it will provide dedicated football pitch space for women, girls, and non-binary players in London throughout July, to help address the ongoing imbalance of pitch access and availability that they experience.
With Women’s Euros 2022 shaping up to be a record-breaking tournament, this is a generational opportunity to open-up football to women, girls, and non-binary players, but lack of access to football facilities is undermining the potential for this opportunity to be taken.
One of the biggest barriers to participation experienced by women, girls and non-binary people is access to pitches and adequate infrastructure. Access to pitches is often restricted by the existence of legacy bookings and unequal allocation of existing pitch space to new players and teams.
Research has found that 59 per cent* of teenage girls who used to be interested in sport drop out due to inadequate opportunities and facilities. Alongside this, recent findings suggest that female players in male-dominated sports experience unequal treatment when it comes to facilities and access, while in some sports clubs or organisations girls have had to share dressing rooms with boys.
adidas has announced its campaign, named ‘Pitch, Please’, to help address this disparity for the duration of the Women’s Euros. Regular pitch access for women, girls, and non-binary players has been secured across London to help improve access to playing facilities and ensure that players of all experience levels can make the most of the excitement of a home tournament.
The campaign was launched on Friday with a film showing some of the leading figures in the women’s football scene calling for change.
One of these players, Everton and England forward Toni Duggan, said: “Growing up, having a safe and accessible space to play football was so important, and without that I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s so great to see adidas highlighting this issue and providing a dedicated pitch for women, girls, and non-binary players to play. I understand first-hand the value this can have, and I know it will really benefit the community.”
Women, girls, and non-binary players looking for a pitch to play on will be able to request a session through a WhatsApp booking service, with pitches at Haggerston School available every Saturday and Sunday during the tournament for five, seven and nine-a-side football.
Further pitch access will also be available with adidas partner Fulham at their Motspur Park training facility, with further events and pitch access opportunities to be announced during the tournament. In total, adidas will be offering over 100 hours for women, girls, and non-binary players during the tournament.
Beyond the tournament, adidas has teamed up with VERSUS to provide 150 hours of free access with Powerleague pitches. Launching in August, five pitches across London will be available to book, helping to provide longer-lasting safe and accessible spaces.
Kathryn Swarbrick, General Manager and SVP for adidas Northern Europe, added: “Throughout Women’s Euros, thousands of women, girls, and non-binary people will be watching their heroes and will be inspired to play, but the significant lack of pitch access is a huge barrier in making this a reality.
“This is a real challenge, and one we must collectively combat to make sure a generational opportunity to welcome women, girls, and non-binary people into the sport is not lost. We’re so proud to be providing a dedicated space for our communities to play, so they can concentrate on what they enjoy doing most – playing football.”
Keep up with all the latest from Euro 2022 across Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Coverage will be anchored by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker, alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will give analysis throughout the tournament.
They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
The pundits and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 Mobile Presentation Bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team around the country to the various stadiums where matches are being played.
In addition, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will be rebranded for the tournament to Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast from 21 June. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a strong programme line up around the tournament.