Lionesses pen open letter to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss urging them to help more schoolgirls play football

Lionesses pen open letter to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss urging them to help more schoolgirls play football
England captain Leah Williamson wants 'change of the best kind' after Euro ...
Sky News

England's Lionesses have penned an open letter to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss where they have urged the government to "create real change" by ensuring all girls across the country have the opportunity to play football at school.

The powerful message comes after the squad made history when they sensationally defeated Germany 2-1 in the Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium on July 31 in front of a record attendance of 87,192 fans.

It is hoped that as a result of England winning their first major football trophy in 56 years, more young girls will be encouraged to play the beautiful game.

To ensure this lasting legacy, the newly crowned European champions have sent a strong message to Tory leadership candidates (and potential future prime minister) Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss on what they want to see the government to ensure this happens.

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"Dear Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss. On Sunday evening history was made. The dreams of 23 women came true. England became European champions for the first time in history," the letter reads.

"Throughout the Euros, we as a team spoke about our legacy and goal to inspire a nation. Many will think that this has already been achieved, but we see this only as the beginning.

"We are looking to the future. We want to create real change in this country and we are asking you, if you were to become Prime Minister on 5 September, to help us achieve that change.

"We want every young girl in the nation to be able to play football at school.

"Currently only 63% of girls can play football in PE lessons. The reality is we are inspiring young girls to play football, only for many to end up going to school and not being able to play.

"This is something that we all experienced growing up. We were often stopped from playing. So we made our own teams, we travelled across the country and despite the odds, we just kept playing football.

"Women’s football has come a long way. But it still has a long way to go.

"We ask you and your government to ensure that all girls have access to a minimum of two hours a week PE. Not only should we be offering football to all girls, we also need to invest in and support female PE teachers too.

"Their role is crucial and we need to give them the resources to provide girls’ football sessions. They are key role models from which so many young girls can flourish.

"We have made incredible strides in the women’s game, but this generation of school girls deserve more. They deserve to play football at lunchtime, they deserve to play football in PE lessons and they deserve to believe that they can one day play for England. We want their dreams to also come true.

"This is an opportunity to make a huge difference. A change that will impact millions of young girls’ lives. We – the 23 members of the England Senior Women’s Euro squad – ask you to make it a priority to invest into girls’ football in schools, so that every girl has the choice.

"Regards, The 2022 UEFA Women’s EURO England Squad."

Since sharing this open letter on social media, there has been a lot of reactions on Twitter.

Liz Truss has issued a statement on her leadership campaign account where she praised the Lionessess' achievement and set out what she would do as leader.

"Liz wants equal access to all sports for boys and girls and supports campaigns such as the FA's Let Girls Play campaign.

"She is committed to investigating what prevents to in schools from delivering from the recommended minimum of 2 hours PE per week.

"And as part of her forthcoming spending review, her government would have the opportunity to look at how best to deliver for girls in schools across the UK."

Rishi Sunakhas also responded to the Lionesses' open letter where he congratulated the team and similarly stated his stance on the matter.

"I passionately believe in the importance of sport for children's development and would love to see all schools provide two hours of PE a week.

"I have already pledged to tighten accountability that surrounds the Primary School PE and Sport Premium to make sure children are receiving the education they deserve.

"I will also ask Ofsted to inspect sports in schools as part of every inspection.

He continued: "At a national level, I'll also launch a review of women's football immediately if made Prime Minister, and champion a bid for the UK to host the Women's World Cup - there's plenty more silverware to be won!"

Football legend and pundit, Ian Wright who has been a vocal advocate for the women's game applauded the squad's letter.

"This team staying winning," he tweeted. "They have done their bit! Over to you @trussliz @RishiSunak #LetGirlsPlay."

Former England footballer and sports commentator Alex Scott shared the letter and wrote: "THIS from the @Lionesses," with an applause emoji.

Let's hope the politicians listen to the Lionesses and take action.

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