Lionesses star, Nikita Parris, is urging more sponsors to invest in the women’s game after partnering with Team Visa.
Lyon forward Parris is the latest Team Visa partner and has joined up with the brand as one of 15 footballers they are helping to reach their full potential.
Parris says she believes it is time for other brands, not just Visa, to take a leap of faith with the women’s game and support female footballers.
“It’s important that you have brands like Visa to be able to put a spotlight [on the game] and show that it’s our time. That time is now. It’s not in five years, six years, it’s right now. Let’s make a change, now.”
Speaking at the Team Visa Summit, Parris said: “Women have to feel empowered. They have to feel like they belong somewhere. Visa shows them that they matter.
“Visa is innovative. It helps change the landscape of not just sport, but people’s lives in many areas that might not have even heard of and in many countries that people might not have even heard of.
“That definitely resonates with me. Many people outside of Toxteth – where I come from – would call it deprived but for me, it was home. When I go back, I want to make sure that the young girls see an opportunity and a light.”
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Visa has expanded its Team Visa scheme to include women’s footballers, like Parris, having previously focused on Olympic athletes.
It is a sign the brand is looking to develop its support of women’s football after it signed a seven-year deal with UEFA to sponsor all of their women’s competitions.
Visa’s European Head of Marketing Adrian Farina said: “This is not a short-term thing. This is not something just to tick a box and to look good.
“We’ve been involved in sports in many years and we’re not just looking for another property to sponsor, but we realised there was something missing.
“We want to drive positive change by treating women’s football how it’s meant to be.”
For women’s football and women’s sports, in general, to be able to thrive and grow sustainably, brands like Visa must continue to support players and clubs financially.
The time for lip service is over in women’s sports. Let’s hope other brands follow suit.