Rishi Sunak vows to build on Euro 2022 legacy for women’s sport

Rishi Sunak vows to build on Euro 2022 legacy for women’s sport
Courtesy: Finnbarr Webster / Stringer | Getty Images News Via Getty Images

Former UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, finalist in the race to become the new British Prime Minister next month, wants England to bid to host a future women’s football World Cup after the country’s women’s team made history with their UEFA Euro 2022 final championship win.

As postal ballots for Conservative Party members to choose between Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss began being sent out this week, Sunak took some time out of a busy campaign trail over the weekend to celebrate the historic win of England’s Lionesses – the women’s national football team who lifted the Euro Championship trophy after a 2-1 win over Germany at Wembley Stadium in London.

The British Indian former minister said: “These Euros have been transformational. In the long history of women’s football in this country, this game-changing squad has done more to smash through barriers than any other.

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“I’m so proud that my two girls are growing up in a country where they can see terrific role models at the top of their game. We now need to ensure there is a tangible grassroots legacy for the young people who have been inspired by what they have seen.

“Britain is a terrific host of major sporting events, which not only make us immensely proud, but also generate jobs and opportunities. I will therefore work with home nations FAs [Football Associations] to explore a bid for a future World Cup so those inspired by the Lionesses have even more to look forward to. Global Britain will be the home of the world’s best sport.”

The formal bidding process for the 2027 World Cup is just about to start, and there will be subsequent bidding rounds for the 2031 and 2035 World Cups. Under Sunak’s leadership if elected to 10 Downing Street, a review into women’s football would be launched immediately, capitalising on the enthusiasm generated by the Euros.

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The UK-born former minister sees himself as a lifelong Southampton Football Club (FC) supporter, the team from his birthplace. His campaign team highlighted that as Chancellor, Sunak announced a record extra investment of £205 million in grassroots pitches to build the next generation of sports pitches which can be used for longer days and all year round, so bad weather will no longer stop play. He also committed £320 million to the school sport premium each year.

To make the most of legacy opportunities from the Euros, Sunak plans to create tighter guidance for primary schools on how the physical education (PE) and sports premium should be spent, with an emphasis on high quality coaching.

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