Growing the beautiful game for women and girls in Milton Keynes
The FA’s National Tournaments Legacy manager Stacey Mullock spoke to the Citizen about Euro 2022’s impact on Milton Keynes
Bold plans have been laid out to help grow and sustain women’s football in Milton Keynes not just ahead of the European Championships next summer, but for years to come.
Stadium MK will host four matches in the women’s tournament in July 2022, including the second semi-final, with pre-sale tickets available as of July 13.
A working group was established last year to begin the process of developing and growing the women’s game in Milton Keynes, highlighting areas where it needed help, and securing funding to help it flourish.
“We’re looking to engage over 11,000 new girls playing football in school,” Stacey Mullock, the FA’s National Tournaments Legacy Manager told the Citizen.
“If we can create that foundation in Milton Keynes, we’re well on our way to achieving everything.
“There is some amazing legacy work already underway in Milton Keynes in planning ahead for what the tournament will bring. We’ve got a steering group with education groups, primary and secondary head teachers, Milton Keynes College, representation from MK Dons as well and local authorities. For the first time, everyone is coming together to have a concerted effort to combine resources and expertise to see what we can do for the women and girls game.
“The work has been going on for about 12 months. We’ve been looking where the current gaps are. We know there was a gap around recreational football for women aged 16+, and we’ve got some funding from Sport England to hone in on that part of the game.
“On the whole, the amount of work going into playing, refereeing, coaching volunteering and watching, it has been a real co-ordinated effort and there is nothing more this group could do to make the most of the tournament coming to town.”
With four games heading to Milton Keynes, around 120,000 tickets will be available to watch here, with more than 700,000 on offer for the whole tournament.
Stadium MK has already hosted women’s international football and the FA Cup final, and Mullock hopes the Euros will throw yet more light on the women’s game and see it thrive in Milton Keynes.
She added: “The spotlight will be on the town for those four games. It’s a real opportunity to show off what Milton Keynes has got. There is lots of work going on in the background to make sure what goes on outside the stadium is as exciting as what goes on inside too.
“We know we’ll get fans in the stadium to watch the Euros, but the longevity of what it means for Milton Keynes, because there is a plan in place, could be record-breaking.
“We’ve got the 16 best teams in Europe coming, really work-class performers coming here. We’re keeping it all crossed people will come and support it.”