Hope Powell thinks gay players at Euro 2022 will benefit LGBTQ+ community

As well as the likes of England squad members Jill Scott and Demi Stokes, other big names such as Pernille Harder and Magda Eriksson are openly gay.

By Press Association Published: 12 July 2022 - 3.19pm

Former England manager Hope Powell believes the number of gay players at Euro 2022 will benefit young members of the LGBTQ+ community and help them to achieve their own dreams of playing the game.

The Lionesses have already qualified for the knockout stages after a record 8-0 victory over Norway in Brighton on Monday night.

That sort of success alone will help drive the interest and support around the country but, with some of the best players in the tournament being openly gay, there are even more positives to the spotlight being shone on the finals.

As well as the likes of England squad members Jill Scott and Demi Stokes, other big names such as Pernille Harder, Magda Eriksson and Ramona Bachmann are also openly gay.

Hope Powell manages Brighton
Hope Powell manages Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“I think it really highlights the game and that everybody is welcome in the women’s game, that puts it ahead of the men’s game in that regard,” Powell, who is also openly gay, told the PA news agency.

“You know, whatever your sexual orientation, everybody’s welcome to this game and it’s really important.

“Young girls and boys are benefiting from seeing some players that are openly gay, these players at the very top of their profession, of this game and they can ask ‘why can’t that be me?’.

“It is not only about providing those ambitions but also helping the ongoing battle to ingrain the LGBTQ+ community.”

Powell is currently the manager of Women’s Super League side Brighton, where she has also played a role in visiting training sessions with local LGBTQ+ team the Sea Gals.

Funding has been a major issue for the amateur levels but, over the last 10 years, the National Lottery has invested over £50million into football in ways which benefit the women’s and girls’ game.

A huge crowd watched England beat Norway on Monday
A huge crowd watched England beat Norway on Monday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Now, with the Women’s Euro on home soil, Powell is hoping the combination of accessibility and funding can continue to grow the game at all levels.

“The visibility in and around stadiums has been fantastic,” she added.

“The media attention should hopefully grow the game in schools, leave a legacy and get more young girls involved at the grassroots level.

“I think the contribution the National Lottery has made to the game will also prove to be crucial, certainly when I was at the FA we relied heavily on lottery funding to help our pathway.

“Every host city from these Euros will have funding, it will make community clubs, grassroots clubs more visible and more accessible in hard-to-reach areas.

“The grassroots is important. The grassroots community programmes are the future of the game. Every single player that’s playing in this tournament would have come through a similar programme. So it’s important we recognise that.”

:: Thanks to National Lottery players, over £50million has been invested into football in the last 10 years, benefitting the women’s and girls’ game by increasing participation and helping young players fulfil their potential. Investment into the Women’s Euros legacy includes £1m of National Lottery funding, invested through Sport England, to get more women playing the game in each host city.

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