Fiona McIntyre determined to capitalize on the feel-good factor of women’s football
Fiona McIntyre is determined to build the feel-good factor around the women’s game in Scotland after Euro 2022 by raising the profile of the sport.
The Scottish FA’s Head of Girls and Women’s Football, speaking at yesterday’s launch of the SWPL, watched from home as Sarina Wegmann’s England team won the trophy for the first time in their history courtesy of a 2-1 win over Germany at Wembley. sunday.
The tournament received unprecedented media coverage and McIntyre is adamant that Scottish sport is able to capitalize on the growing interest in the women’s game – especially this winter when the men’s World Cup takes place in Qatar.
“Everyone is talking about women’s football this week, even people who have never talked about women’s football are talking about it,” she said. “That is how we take advantage of it and the league will have a big role to play in that.
“We have seen what happens when Scotland qualify for a big tournament. There is immediate interest from the media and fans but how do we ensure that the media is there every week, that the commercial partners stay through the season? That’s the bit that’s the key.
“Our responsibility is to make sure that interest continues. We have to keep improving the product by investing more in clubs and letting supporters know where to go to watch games.
“Clubs have a huge role to play and deserve a lot of credit because so many of them have taken the sport to the point it is now. But from our point of view we can be a little bit more strategic in terms of our scheduling.
“For example, there is a World Cup for men this year which means there is a break in the season. That means the Premiership stadiums are empty, the fans have no place to go, so at the end of November our There is a Derby Day near and we will try to encourage all our clubs to play these games in their stadiums.
“We will try and market and promote that weekend. Centrally we can do things as a league but essentially it is a collective effort.”
SWPL is currently without a title sponsor and a broadcast partner, but McIntyre revealed that supporters can expect an update on that front in the near future.
The domestic cup semi-finals and final will be played in Hampden for the first time this season and McIntyre argues that although there are critics who argue that the national stadium will not be packed for showpiece occasions, it misses the point entirely. does.
“It’s huge,” she said. “People debate the size of Hampden and whether it’s the right place.
“But it has a symbolic aspect; If you are a girl in Scotland and you aspire to play for your country or reach the national cup final you should be able to play in the national stadium.
“It’s not men’s national stadium, it’s football’s national stadium
“This is a statement of intent that the Scottish FA is supporting the strategy it laid out last year to invest in the sport. Instead of looking at it as one big stadium, I think it’s a great opportunity to drive to big crowds. ,