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After England reached the quarter finals of the World Cup last month and climbed into the world's top ten for the first time, the grassroots is also set to receive a major boost, in no small part due to the influence of Prime Minister, Gordon Brown MP.
The Football Association, FA partner Tesco and the National Sports Foundation are joining forces in a £1million funding and development programme which was formally announced at England's Euro 2009 qualifier at Walsall FC.
The Prime Minister followed England's fortunes at the World Cup, faxing the side a good luck message before the quarter final tie against the USA, and was instrumental in the formation of the National Sports Foundation.
"It is excellent to see The FA, the National Sports Foundation and Tesco joining together to invest in developing girls' and women's football in this way.
"Encouraging active lifestyles among our children is a key priority for the government, and I have every expectation that this programme will provide an excellent example of how wider participation of young people in sport and exercise can be achieved.
"The achievements of Hope Powell's England team in the World Cup in China raised the profile of the women's game enormously and I am confident that the inspiration this provides, along with grass roots support from partnerships such as this one can succeed in giving new impetus to women's football in England."
The three key initial priorities of the partnership are:
* to increase participation and ensure that girls and women can join a local club;
* to increase the number of female coaches, volunteers, leaders and referees, and;
* to increase opportunities for under-represented groups, particularly females with disabilities and females from black and minority ethnic communities.
FA Chief Executive Brian Barwick travelled to China to watch Hope Powell's side in World Cup action against Germany and Argentina, and welcomed the funding from both Tesco and Government.
"The Women's World Cup was a major landmark moment for a fast-growing sport. The likes of Kelly Smith and Faye White are fantastic role models to the 150,000 girls and women playing affiliated football every week, but that is still a very small percentage of the female population.
"With a childhood obesity crisis looming in coming years, The FA can play a major role in getting more young children and adults active and healthy.
"Funding from organisations such as the National Sports Foundation will ensure The FA engages even more girls and women in the sport and we hope it will be a platform for further FA-Government partnership in the future."
Two brand new national grassroots cup competitions will also be launched for girls at Under-14 and Under-16 level. The Tesco Girls Cups will see clubs from all over England competing at county and regional level, with the best teams in England playing in finals set for May 2008.
Derek Mapp, Chairman of Sport England, said: "We are delighted to be teaming up with the FA and Tesco to support the Women and Girls Development Programme. This type of initiative shows that sports are reaching out to new audiences better than ever before. I am sure it will be a huge success."
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