Women's Sport: Heather Rabbatts on how we can protect funding of women's sport

Heather Rabbatts, founder of the Women’s Sports Group who are overseeing the monetisation of FA Women’s Super League rights has said that sports and clubs need to work now to ensure that women’s sport doesn’t suffer because of the pandemic.

Sports Pro reports that the former director of the FA was speaking at Westminster Media Forum’s virtual policy conference focusing on women in sport. 

She said: “There have been some commentators who have been talking about the real financial challenge that many sports across both men’s and women’s are now facing because of the cancellation of the sporting calendar.

“What I would be urging all of us to be doing in terms of our participation with women’s sport, is that the prediction that somehow women’s sport is now going to be passed over should be countered as strongly as possible.”

Rabbatts said that we need to ensure that worries over how women’s sport will be funded after the crisis don’t lead to underfunding: “It’s important that it doesn’t become some self-fulfilling prophecy that the financial crisis will undermine the progress made, rather than all sports have got to face up to some incredibly difficult times, and we all have to work creatively to try and secure all of the sports we care about and love going forward.”

Fifa has reaffirmed it’s commitment to investing $1 billion in women’s football, an example of how Rabbatts said that some organisations are “working hard to secure the future” women in their sports.

Ultimately, Rabbatts was optimistic about the future of women’s sport: “I think the momentum that was achieved by women’s sport, the values that women’s sport stands for across so many disciplines, I think will find increasing resonance in a world as we emerge from what are currently very dark days.

“I would be urging – whether its rights owners, or commercial partners, or broadcasters – to continue to restate their confidence in women’s sport, and how women’s sport will continue to grow in the future.”

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