World Cup could spark full-time Scottish women’s league, says SFA CEO

18 June 2019 | Clubs & Rightsholders
World Cup could spark full-time Scottish women’s league, says SFA CEO
Ian Maxwell, the chief executive of Scottish soccer’s Football Association (SFA), says that the “transformational” impact of the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup could lead to the creation of a full-time professional league in Scotland.

The Scottish national women’s soccer team are competing at the tournament for the first time this summer after their debut appearance at the Uefa Women’s European Championship two years ago, and Maxwell says the country’s success on the international stage needs to help fuel the domestic game.

“The impact of the tournament will be huge, transformational to be honest,” Maxwell told the Times. “It has been talked about a lot back home and six to twelve months ago it probably wasn't being talked about on the same level.

“It's up to the association to try gauge that interest and drive it forward. Women's football is on a journey and this is a massive part of increasing awareness back home.

“It's up to us, in conjunction with our member clubs, to maximise that and give every girl who wants to play football in Scotland the opportunity to do so.”

There are no full-time teams in the existing Scottish Women’s Premier League, although Celtic announced in December that they plan to form Scotland’s first professional women’s side next year.

No other clubs have yet said that they intend to follow Celtic’s lead, but Maxwell believes the growing commercial interest in women’s soccer means there is potential for a full-time league.

“A number of clubs are looking at pretty much full-time women's teams,” Maxwell added. “The more that develops, the more opportunities there will be for girls, and the more clubs will follow suit.

“Commercially we've seen with the deals we've been able to do [for the national team] that there's definitely more interest. I'm sure clubs will be finding that when they're talking to their sponsors and partners.

“It's about getting that investment to enable them to commit to full-time teams.”

The SFA sealed a flurry of commercial partnerships for Scotland’s women’s side ahead of their appearance at the World Cup, including deals with food retail store Spar and pharmaceutical retailer Boots. Meanwhile, a record crowd of 18,555 attended the team’s send-off friendly fixture against Jamaica at Hampden Park.

Scotland have lost both of their group stage games so far at the Women’s World Cup, but could still qualify for the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams if they beat Argentina on Wednesday.

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