The 2022 UEFA Women's European Championships is just a month away. The feast of women's football will be held in England from 6-30 July with Brentford hosting four matches. And there will also be celebrations in the local area.
The history of women’s football is to be revealed and celebrated by a UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Heritage Programme at Gunnersbury Park, where Brentford FC Community Sports Trust has a sports hub. London is one of the nine UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 host cities is taking part in a National Lottery funded project to uncover the hidden history of women’s football. This will be part of a summer of celebration of the game, its players and communities.
In partnership with The FA, Gunnersbury Park Museum (on behalf of Hounslow and Ealing councils) has joined a number of other organisations across England for the project which has been awarded £500,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. It’s an important year for women’s football, as England hosts the UEFA Women’s EURO and the Lionesses mark their 50th anniversary. However, the history of the game goes back a lot further and this year also marks 141 years since women’s football was first played professionally.
The National Lottery funded project aims to challenge the common perception of women’s football being ‘new’ and change the nation’s understanding of ‘the English game’. In addition to the National Lottery funding, The FA and host cities have contributed nearly £600,000 to the project.
For the very first time, information about every England player, captain, goal scorer and match score since 1972 will be researched, recorded and shared alongside the information that already exists about men’s football. Hosted on England Football’s website the record will continue to be updated, ensuring future female players are part of the nation’s footballing story. The project will particularly explore the role of the LGBTQ+ community.
Baroness Sue Campbell, UEFA Women's EURO 2022 Board Member and Director of Women's Football at The FA, said: "We are thrilled to be working with our UEFA Women's EURO Host City partners and The National Lottery Heritage Fund on this unique project. Together we will bring to the fore incredible stories of the pioneers of women's football who have helped shape the women's game we have today.
"The programme will also capture and tell, for generations to come, the profiles and stories of current and future England players, ensuring fans are better informed than ever before. With the UEFA Women's EURO coming to England this summer, this really is the time to celebrate our past and look forward to a very exciting future."
The Gunnersbury exhibition will be accompanied by an exciting programme of events, such as creative workshops for children and an outdoor film screening. More on the exhibition will be announced when confirmed. The best place to find information will be at the Gunnersbury Park website here.