Women's Sport: Sporting organisations coming together over fears for women's sport due to COVID19

Katie Sadleir

With the lockdown and postponement of all major sporting league and competition, the fear over the next couple of months is the impact of it on women's sports.

World Rugby's general manager Katie Sadleir has revealed to the Telegraph that, the three leading women's sports representatives are formulating strategies to reduce the coronavirus' impact on women's sport participation.

The crisis meetings are held regularly with FIFA's chief women's football officer Sarai Bareman and the ICC chief women's cricket officer Holly Calvin since COVID-19 shut down global sport. 

"We are sharing ideas and supporting each other," she said.

"We have spent quite a bit of time talking about the implications for women's sport and what they are currently doing. No one six months ago, thought we would be in this situation and now its time for leaders in women's sport to step up."

The discussions are aimed at formulating a joint planned strategy to counter a severe dip in women's sport participation following the pandemic, with all three sports fearing a lack of grassroots numbers could have a leading impact on the future of female sport going forward.

"Things will be different. The reality is that people are going to have different priorities in terms of how they spend their discretionary time for a period of time after this.

"That is what I think is going to be different. We won't be able to say we have 2.7 million women participating in rugby; it just won't be the same." 
 
Sadleir said that World Rugby had been looking towards FIFA's planned support for member federations and grassroots programs as a possible solution to roll out across other major sports.

"Hopefully what we do over this time is to work together on some solutions to make sure that different is good as opposed to a disaster but we will just have to work through that with the people we invested in," she continued.

Women's sport has enjoyed a year of significant growth and impact at most levels of sports. After a successful Women's World Cup in France, T20 in Australia and also the success of brands, media organisations and publishers getting behind the push to grow women's sport, there is a real consent that, all the good work will be forgotten at the grassroots level, national and international level.

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