Former England defender Alex Scott has spoken of her hope that the new Women’s Super League broadcast deal will help “plant seeds” of a future generation of players.
The Football Association announced the new three-year agreement with Sky Sports and the BBC on Monday.
It will see WSL matches shown on Sky Sports and BBC One and Two over the next three seasons, while clubs in the division – and in the Women’s Championship – will receive a proportion of revenue. The deal is understood to be worth around £8million per season.
Television pundit Scott, who retired from playing in 2018 with 140 England caps to her name, told the PA news agency: “Obviously it’s about growing the game. Having it broadcast on BBC and Sky is making sure more people are watching and across it and seeing the game develop and recognising certain players.
“The other side, the money and the revenue that is going to come into the game to help it grow, is needed as well.
“It’s such a ground-breaking deal on so many levels.
“It goes back down to grassroots – the fact that young girls now can come home from school and watch a women’s match and it’s just totally normal.
“You want that so then young girls playing in the playground will be like ‘I want to be like Lucy Bronze, I want to be like Steph Houghton’, and they stay in the sport.
“So I think it’s like planting those seeds now, and hopefully that next generation will come through.”
This weekend’s WSL action includes Scott’s old club Arsenal taking on derby rivals Tottenham at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday, a match she is backing the Gunners to win.
Their previous outing was last Friday’s 2-0 home win over Manchester United. Fourth-placed Arsenal are currently three points behind third-placed United, with the sides having six and five games left respectively, and the former having a considerably better goal difference.
Asked about their battle for the third-place Champions League spot, Scott said: “I love everything Casey (Stoney, the United manager) has done – for them to be even be up there and challenging already and thinking and talking about the Champions League is huge.
“But I do think because of the result, they may just miss out this season.”
The former right-back was speaking ahead of attending a football session with children on Monday, when there will be a return for outdoor grassroots football in line with the Government’s ‘road map’ out of national lockdown.
Scott is helping to relaunch the ‘Fun Football’ programme, a McDonald’s initiative providing one million hours of free football sessions for children in 2021.
She said: “(Hearing talk about how) from March 29 we’re able to go out, kids are able to do sport again, get involved in activities, I was smiling – so imagine kids that have not been able to do that because of lockdown, and play football with their mates and have that freedom.
“I know how much football gave me that, that escapism. So to be able to introduce that back into kids’ lives and be part of sessions that are just fun, getting that element back where you can just go and enjoy it, is massive.”
:: Alex Scott is launching one million hours of McDonald’s Fun Football sessions for children as grassroots football returns across England. To find your nearest session, go to