FOOTBALL: BBC Sport boosts commitment to women’s football

BBC Sport has announced a raft of new programming which will see an increased commitment to women’s football across its TV, radio and online platforms.

In a welcome boost its profile following a breakthrough year in 2012, there will be more air-time and coverage dedicated to women’s football on the BBC than ever before, including continued live coverage of England internationals as well as the Women’s FA Cup Final, which returns to the BBC in 2013.

For the first time there will be regular terrestrial highlights of the FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL), the semi-professional summer football league introduced in 2011.

In addition, the BBC will provide extensive coverage of the 2013 UEFA Women’s European Championships in Sweden.

The format of the increased BBC TV coverage includes a mixture of preview shows, live coverage and highlights packages.

BBC football reporter and commentator Jacqui Oatley will front two BBC Two preview shows looking ahead to two major dates on the women’s football calendar.

The first, ahead of the Women’s FA Cup Final, will air on Monday, May 20, and will also provide a review of the FA Women’s Super League as the season reaches the critical half-way stage.

The final itself will then be broadcast live on BBC Two on Sunday 26 May at 3pm.

Following on from the Women’s FA Cup Final will be the second preview show, air ng on Monday, July 8, which will look ahead to the UEFA Women’s European Championship which takes place in Sweden and kicks off on July 10.

Full coverage of the tournament will be shown across BBC Three with the final on BBC Two. Coincidentally, July 8th marks the 20 year-anniversary of the women’s game being under the control of the FA.

After the Women’s Euros, BBC Two will air four FA Women’s Super League programmes which will provide goals round-ups, highlights and features as well as looking ahead to England’s World Cup qualifiers, which will also be shown live on BBC.

From autumn 2013, the BBC will show live coverage England’s World Cup qualifiers for the tournament which will be staged in Canada in 2015.

In addition and throughout the entire WSL season, BBC Sport online will feature a weekly goals round-up, which will also form part of Friday’s Sportsday on the BBC News Channel.

BBC Director of Sport, Barbara Slater, commented: “We’re delighted to be increasing our coverage of women’s football across all of our platforms.

“We know there is a strong audience appetite for more coverage and The FA Women’s Super League is a great addition to our portfolio.

“We look forward to bringing our audiences a great range of women’s football over the coming months.”

The announcement of the new BBC deal comes on International Women’s Day.

Kelly Simmons, FA Director of National Game and Women’s Football, said of the news: “The FA is delighted to be working with the BBC on The FA Cup Final, the UEFA Women’s 2013 Euros and its fantastic this commitment has now extended to The FA WSL.

“The league has had a strong couple of seasons since its launch but we believe this can be a watershed moment for the game in England.

“Our elite football league being shown consistently on terrestrial television will enable us to take the game to a wider audience and engage new fans into the sport and hopefully, inspire many more young girls to play the game.”

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