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Over 465,000 take part in Let Girls Play session

To coincide with International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March, a record-breaking 465,000 girls from 5,000 schools across England will take part in The FA and Barclays’ third Biggest Ever Football Session today, as part of the Let Girls Play campaign.

This year, the Biggest Ever Football Session has seen more registrations than ever before, with 71% of the schools who have signed up having never done so before, highlighting the ever-growing demand for girls to play football. 76% of schools who have taken part in the previous sessions have stated the activity has influenced equal access in their school.

The sessions taking place up and down the country mark a year to the day since the UK Government committed to unlocking equal opportunities for girls to play sports including football in their schools.

The transformational change was backed by a multi-million-pound investment in school sport and afterschool activities – including over £600 million in funding over the next two academic years for the PE and Sport Premium. The commitment to increase participation was delivered thanks to campaigning spearheaded by the EURO 2022-winning Lionesses and an open letter they addressed to prospective Prime Ministers Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss which looked to increase the chance for girls to play the game in school with participation at only 63% in 2022.

Attending a London event to celebrate the sessions is England and Arsenal defender Lotte Wubben-Moy, who returns to Olga Primary School in Bow where she set up its very first girls’ team as a student with former teacher Paul Cox. Wubben-Moy was part of England’s EURO 2022 winning squad and actively campaigned for all young girls to be given the opportunity to play football in school.

Lotte will be joined in Bow by former England International and Barclays ambassador Kelly Smith along with football freestyler Lia Lewis Gribius, where they will meet girls taking part in a training session and see a mural unveiled, inspired by Wubben-Moy’s ‘doodle diary’ in the tournament winning summer of 2022 and during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

This year students with special educational needs and disabilities at Westcroft School in Wolverhampton will be joined on the day by Honorary President of UK Deaf Sport and star of the TV show Gladiators’, Jodie Ounsley AKA ‘Fury’. Jodie was fitted with a cochlear implant aged 15 and faced barriers to sports with physical contact due to her hearing impairment, however continued to ask questions and push boundaries on what is being offered to those with a disability.

England senior women’s player Lotte Wubben-Moy said: “It is both a special and fitting moment to be back at my primary school - where I was once the only girl playing football - on a day where 465,000 girls from primary and secondary schools across the country will be part of the Biggest Ever Football session.

When we won the EUROS, we as Lionesses wanted to leave a tangible legacy. Almost two years on that legacy is coming to fruition, with young girls who want to play football at school benefiting most.

As the game grows, especially at the elite level, it's increasingly important that grassroots teams and schools are not left behind. Every girl in this country should know that if they want to play football, they can."

The Let Girls Play campaign was launched in October 2021 to support The FA’s strategic ambition to provide girls with equal access to football. The campaign is supported by Barclays as part of its record-breaking investment in women’s and girls’ football and long-standing commitment to the sport.

Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s Director of Women’s Football, said: “When primary and secondary schools close today, the total number of girls to have taken part in our Biggest Ever Football Sessions since 2022 will reach in excess of 750,000. That is a truly incredible number, reflecting the passion for football from girls around the country but also highlighting the need for equal access within P.E and also via extra-curricular sessions. We need an active generation of children, the physical health and mental health benefits of regular physical activity are well documented and The FA’s strategic drive for equal access in schools and clubs is more important than ever.

I am also delighted to see Westcroft School in Wolverhampton involved today, through our Football Your Way plan launched in October 2021 we have shown a clear commitment to develop, improve and raise awareness of disability football in England. It is vital for all girls to have the chance to experience the benefits the game can offer, regardless of their ability or disability.”

Tom Corbett, Managing Director, Sponsorship at Barclays said: “Football teaches girls so many crucial life skills, so we are incredibly proud to have partnered with the FA, not just on today’s event, but on the Barclays Girls Football School Partnerships and as title sponsor of the Barclays Women’s Super League. Seeing over 465,000 girls set to play today, and over 19,900 schools offering equal access, shows just how far the game has come”.

To find out more about the campaign and get involved, go to To join the movement via social media, follow Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #LetGirlsPlay.

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