SSE and The FA have announced a new four year title sponsorship deal for the largest cup competition in women's football, the Women's FA Cup.
The SSE Women's FA Cup, as it will now be known, will take place at Wembley Stadium for the first time when Chelsea Ladies take on Notts County Ladies on Saturday, 1st August.
The seven-figure deal includes a commitment to invest in the women's game with significant funding ring-fenced to create a country-wide programme of girls-only football activity. It also represents a landmark moment in the history of women's football with the first ever major sponsorship of the Women's FA Cup competition. It signals the growth and stature of the women's game.
To mark the launch of the partnership 100 school girls descended on Wembley Stadium, getting a tour of the stadium and a training session with women from the U19 and U23 England squads.
Announcing the sponsorship at Wembley today, Alan Young, SSE Managing Director of Corporate Affairs, said: "We're entering this partnership with one simple ambition – to make a difference to the future of women's football and sport.
"SSE's investment will help drive the women's game forward and together with The FA we will help continue to grow the sport, giving thousands more girls regular access to the beautiful game. We're already supporting the talent of tomorrow with our SSE Next Generation programme, helping 100 young athletes across Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland reach their potential.
"Bringing 100 girls here to Wembley is a fitting way to launch our partnership and inspire the footballers of the future."
Commenting on the new deal, Heather Rabbatts, FA Board member & Chair of the Inclusion Advisory Board, said: "The FA is committed to ensuring that women's football gets the status and investment it deserves – the buzz of anticipation around the FIFA Women's World Cup is testimony to the appeal of the game.
"Similarly at grassroots, we as an organisation are committed to ensuring that there are access points for girls and women to enjoy the game across all levels and abilities. This agreement with SSE meets both these ambitions and gives us the opportunity to build on all that we have already achieved. Dreaming of playing at Wembley in The SSE Women's Cup Final can now be a reality for girls too."
Georgia Stanway, SSE Next Generation star and England U17 international was also at the launch of the new partnership: "I'm very proud SSE is now sponsoring the SSE Women's FA Cup. I know first-hand the benefit that can come from businesses championing the sport and giving support to new talent.
"This partnership with SSE and The FA will allow many more young girls to experience football in a relaxed and supportive environment with girls of a similar age. Through the Next Generation programme, SSE has already been a great support to me in my career and I'm delighted it will now be helping many more young girls develop a love and passion for the game."
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