European football chiefs unveil plans to grow the women's game

Leah Williamson and Lauren Hemp two of the region's success stories Credit: PA

More girls could be about to follow in the footsteps of two of our top footballers.

Leah Williamson, from Milton Keynes, has just helped Arsenal to the Women's Super League title, while Norfolk's Lauren Hemp scored a goal in Manchester City's 3-0 FA Cup win at Wembley.

Now UEFA is hoping to encourage more women to take up the sport after it launched a five-year plan to double the number of women and girls playing football across Europe and increase female representation on all its official bodies by 50 per cent.

Measures taken in the last three years include increasing by half UEFA funding to its women's football development programme from 2020, launching the Together #WePlayStrong campaign and creating a specific women's football unit.

However, for the first time in its history the governing body has now puttogether a dedicated strategy to boost the women's game.

By 2024 the strategy aims to double the number of women and girls playingfootball in member associations to 2.5 million, double female representation on all UEFA bodies and change the perceptions of women's football across Europe.

It also looks to double the reach and value of the Women's Euro and the Women's Champions League and improve player standards by reaching agreements for national team players and putting safeguarding policies in place.

It could lead to more players making it to the top of the game. Leah Williamson's form for the Gunners led to here making it into Phil Neville's World Cup squad.

Her call up was announced by Arsenal legend Ian Wright.

Lauren Hemp has already enjoyed success since she was spotted playing football as a teenager. She was named the PFA Young Player of the Season last year.