Shoosmiths has reiterated its commitment to supporting the further growth of the women’s game in Scotland, as its successful partnership with the Scottish FA heads towards its fourth year.
The UK law firm, who has offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, signed a four-year deal in August 2019 with the Scottish FA, with the partnership supporting the training of at least 20 new referees and 200 new coaches in women’s youth and senior football.
The Scotland Women’s National Team boosted their chances of qualifying for back-to-back FIFA Women’s World Cups with an impressive 4-0 victory over Ukraine on Friday which puts them in pole-position to claim a spot in the play-offs for next year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand, and this onfield positivity is reflected in some of the progress that has been made in participation throughout numerous different aspects of the women’s game.
Scottish FA statistics from this year show that there has been an increase in females starting their coaching journey across six regional areas in Scotland.
Across the country, the number of female coaches starting Level 1 courses increased to 662 between May 2021 and April this year - up 191 on the yearly average.
While there has also been a rise in the amount of female referees in Scotland, with over 100 introduced to the game since January 2019.
Leanne Ross, assistant coach of the Scotland Women’s National Team, believes that while these statistics are a positive, there is still more ground to break with regards to growing the women’s game.
She said: “The numbers around female participation are encouraging. Progress is being made but there’s still a lot of work to do.
“People need to be able to see that there are opportunities for women to work in football and turn that passion into a career, so it’s good that the respective programmes for coaching and refereeing have the kind of backing they do from partners like Shoosmiths.”
Shoosmiths also received a ticket allocation as part of the deal, and 80% of these tickets have now been given out over the last few campaigns, to local schools and club teams, allowing the next generation to attend matches and see their idols in the flesh.
Simon Boss, former Shoosmiths chief executive, highlighted the shared values between the firm and the Scottish FA as the partnership moves towards its fourth year.
He said: “We saw in Scottish women’s football a partner that not only reflected our successes to date and our ambitious growth strategy but also one that fits well with our values as a firm. Corporate responsibility (CR) lies at the heart of our business strategy at Shoosmiths our CR vision is to be the leading UK law firm famous for its positive contribution to society.
“The more we spoke with the Scottish Football Association the more we recognised how the opportunities and challenges which the women's game is facing reflect those which we are encountering as a law firm.
“Issues such as diversity and inclusion feature at the heart of both organisations and we quickly recognised that that each organisation could learn from the other’s experiences in dealing with such matters.”
Robin Mitchell, a real estate partner in Shoosmiths’ Edinburgh office, combines his job with his role as the assistant coach at Boroughmuir Thistle Ladies and Girls Football Club.
He added: “I was personally delighted to be involved in this partnership with the Scottish Football Association.
“The partnership is based around the promotion and development of the women’s game and in particular we’re looking to introduce a significant number of new female coaches and referees in Scotland.
“I know from my own experience in the game how important good female role models are to girls at all stages.
“Our hope is that with more female coaches and referees, girls will have obvious role models which will provide them with the encouragement and ambition need to make the most of their participation in the game.”