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Sport (Women)

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what assessment she has made of the development by Sport England of women's participation in (a) football, (b) rugby and (c) cricket; [113665](2) if she will make a statement in her policy on

(a) increasing participation and (b) promoting excellence in (i) women's football, (ii) women's cricket and (iii) women's rugby. [113667]

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Strategy Unit Report "Game Plan" sets out Government's determination to improve opportunities for women at all levels in sport, whether as participants, competitors, coaches, or administrators. Sport England have published sports development framework documents through its Active Sports programme for girls' football, cricket and rugby. Women's cricket will receive nearly £2 million from 1/4/03 to 31/3/04, and women's rugby £1,188,000 from 1/8/02 to 31/7/03 through the World Class programmes to support elite athletes. Elite female football players are supported through the FA.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with the Football Association on developing a professional women's football league; and what support she is giving to developing the professionalisation of women's football. [113666]

Neither I nor my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State have had discussions with the Football Association on the development of professional women's football.The development of the women's game is the responsibility of the FA. However, DCMS officials are working closely with the football authorities and other sporting organisations to raise the profile of the women's sport in this country.