Lionesses call on Tory duo to help schoolgirls News Portal

England’s European champions have urged the Conservative party leadership candidates to ensure “every young girl” can play football at school.

The women’s team beat Germany 2-1 at Wembley on Sunday to lift their first major trophy.

It was also England’s first since the men won the 1966 World Cup.

In an open letter to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, the 23-member Euro 2022 squad said: “This is an opportunity to make a huge difference.”

“A change that will impact millions of young girls’ lives,” they added. “We ask you to make it a priority to invest into girls’ football in schools, so that every girl has the choice.”

The team highlighted only 63% of girls can play football in PE lessons, according to a Football Association (FA) campaignexternal-link published last year.

They also asked that all girls should have access to a minimum of two hours a week in PE.

A report by England Football, part of the FA, claimed that only 44% of secondary schools in Englandexternal-link offer girls equal access to football in PE lessons.

“Throughout the Euros, we as a team spoke about our legacy and goal to inspire a nation,” said the team. “Many will think this has already been achieved but we see this only as the beginning.

“We are looking to the future. We want every young girl in the nation to be able to play football at school.

“We have made incredible strides in the women’s game but this generation of schoolgirls deserve more. We want their dreams to also come true.

“We want to create real change in this country and we are asking you, if you were to become Prime Minister on 5 September, to help us achieve that change.”

The team celebrated their Euros triumph in front of 7,000 fans at Trafalgar Square on Monday and the Queen led tributes by sending a message of congratulations in which she called them “an inspiration”.

England and Manchester City forward Chloe Kelly, who scored the winning goal against Germany, said the Lionesses had set out to “inspire the nation”.

Kelly grew up playing cage football with her five brothers and their friends, while also playing in the boys’ school football team and at QPR.

“You also want to be in an environment where you are comfortable and that is massive for young girls,” she told BBC sports editor Dan Roan.

“There will be a massive turning point from this summer. The girls, as a group, we want to make a change and if we can do that, that is massive.

“Girls being able to do what they love, no matter the quality, let’s go and play.”

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