Despite the female game growing in popularity – and England coming third in the Women’s World Cup last year – Britain’s dads are more likely to be spending time with their daughters indoors playing computer games than outdoors kicking a football around.
The findings come as a result of a OnePoll survey, commissioned by the energy giant and sponsor of The SSE Women’s FA Cup for its Dads and Daughters campaign, which aims to encourage more young girls to start playing the beautiful game.
Keeping girls active is one of the key challenges dads around the country are currently facing, and playing football could be the solution as the summer months approach. As it stands, only a third of fathers currently play football with their daughters, while just two per cent believe she would be interested in the sport anyway.
Former England lioness Kelly Smith joined SSE to encourage more dads to have a kickabout with their daughters this weekend.
She said: “My dad played a pivotal role in supporting and encouraging me throughout my footballing career. From the fun hobby at the start to driving me to games and cheering me on the world stage.
“There are many dads around the UK doing a brilliant job of encouraging their daughters to be a part of football. SSE’s sponsorship of the SSE Women’s FA Cup aims to grow the numbers of young girls playing the game and what better way to start than a father and daughter kickabout in the park this Father’s Day.”
SSE became the first major sponsor of the Woman’s FA Cup in 2015. The four year sponsorship aims to help grow the game’s profile but importantly provide vital funding into grassroots football.
Colin Banks, Head of Sponsorship for SSE said: “Just one per cent of fathers think their daughters would pick a career as a footballer, if given the choice. We think the number could be much higher and what better way to encourage more young girls to get involved in sport than a family football game for Father’s Day?
“Kelly had tremendous support from her family which enabled her to compete at the highest level but a friendly kickabout this weekend could be just the encouragement young girls need to consider getting involved in the grassroots game.”
Dads are clearly conscious of the disparity that exists between girls and boys in football, with nearly a third of fathers in the UK saying they feel there is still a stigma around girls pursuing certain sports or hobbies.
In fact, many dads have suggested that their daughters are eight times more likely to pick a career in dance, theatre or hairdressing over football, while only one per cent of fathers think their daughters would pick a career as a footballer, if given the choice.
This may explain why 20 per cent of fathers actively encourage their sons to take an interest in football, whereas that figure drops to just seven per cent for girls.
The survey also revealed that fathers believe teaching tops the chart for both boys (52%) and girls (68%) when it comes to which professions act as the best role-models for children. SSE, through the FA, is working with clubs across the country to give more young people the chance to take part in the game – even just for fun – and encourage girls in particular to enjoy the sport.
SSE’s Dads and Daughters campaign celebrates fathers around the country who have played a major part in encouraging their daughters to get involved in football. Three films are being created to tell the stories of the special father-daughter bonds across all levels of the game, from grassroots to the elite.
The first film features Arsenal Ladies striker and former England Lioness Kelly Smith who recently won The SSE Women’s FA Cup, and is available to view here.
If you are a dad who already plays football with your daughter – please get in touch via this website or twitter and send us your photos – we’d love to hear from you!
Report courtesy of SSE via Synergy