England's Women's World Cup run inspires growth in football participation

The England Lionesses
The Lionesses finished fourth at the World Cup in France, after losing to Sweden in the third-place play-off

England's run to the semi-finals at the 2019 Women's World Cup inspired a growth in participation across all levels, according to Football Association figures.

The FA says 2.63m women aged 16 and over in England now play football.

Since the tournament in France, where the Lionesses finished fourth, 850,000 more women have committed to the sport.

"The growth we've experienced is proof of the 'see it, play it' mantra," the FA's Louise Gear said.

"In the Lionesses we're fortunate to have a wonderful group of role models performing at the highest level of the game, who inspire females of all ages to have the confidence to get out and give football a try; be it for fitness, competition or fun."

The FA's head of women's development added that the learning from the summer will "shape our future strategy and with Tokyo in 2020 and a home Women's Euro 2021".

From September, of the 2.63m adults playing in England, 23% play 11-a-side or small-sided football competitively. The remaining 2.03m take part casually, playing small-sided games but not in a league.

Last season, the FA had 1,831 affiliated women's teams and 4,073 affiliated girls' teams. Those figures contributed to a global Fifa study, released in the summer, which found that there were 120,557 female players playing organised football in England.

A record total of 28.1m people watched the Women's World Cup, which was won by the United States when they beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the final in Lyon.

The Lionesses are also set to play in front of a record-breaking Wembley crowd when they face Germany on 9 November.

Analysis - England still playing catch up

BBC Sport's Tom Garry

After attracting huge television audiences in the summer, the FA will naturally be pleased that the Lionesses appear to be inspiring more people to get out and play the game.

However, the challenge now is to try and encourage more of those 2.63m to take part in a small-sided or 11-a-side league.

Currently, more than 2m of them do not.

Fifa's participation study found that the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and France all had more registered female players than England, which will be a concern for some.

But England has also seen growth in the number of female referees and coaches, and can now boast the highest number of female coaches in Europe.

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