The Scottish Government has provided around £80,000 of funding to allow the Scotland’s Women’s National Team to train full-time in the lead up to the 2019 FIFA World Cup.

The financial support will allow those players in the national squad who are currently not professionals to train full-time from January 2019 ahead of the tournament in France, which begins on 7 June.

The Scottish Government funding will be delivered to the players through the Scottish Football Partnership. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the funding at Hampden Park ahead of the Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week.

The Scotland Women’s National Team Patron also congratulated the team on their qualification for their first World Cup, following a dramatic night in Shkodër, Albania earlier this month.

Head Coach Shelley Kerr was joined by Hibernian players Joelle Murray and Jenna Fife along with Glasgow City players Leanne Crichton, Hayley Lauder, Jo Love and Lee Alexander. Scottish FA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell and Scottish FA Performance Director Malky Mackay were also in attendance as well as Scottish Football Partnership’s Stuart McCaffrey and Jim Clydesdale.

Scottish FA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell said: “The whole of the country was delighted when Shelley Kerr’s team qualified for the FIFA World Cup.

“We are determined to ensure that the squad are as well prepared as they can be going into their first FIFA World Cup.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Scottish Government for their support, which will undoubtedly help our home based players as they push to make the final squad.”

Scotland Women’s National Team Head Coach Shelley Kerr said: “It was an incredible achievement to qualify for our first ever FIFA World Cup.

“It was a special feeling but now it’s incredibly important we focus on the future and how best to prepare for the FIFA World Cup in France.

“We are determined to start the tournament in the best possible shape and are delighted to have the support of the Scottish Government through the Scottish Football Partnership.

“We are in a fortunate position where a number of our players are already playing football full-time and this agreement allows all of our squad to be at their optimal best when the tournament comes around.”

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I’m proud to be patron of the Scotland Women’s National Team and it’s been fantastic to see the hard work of the squad and staff pay off by qualifying for the FIFA World Cup next year.

“This funding will allow all members of the squad to train full-time from January 2019 through to the World Cup in the summer.

“This will also strengthen women’s and girls’ football in this country, and also aims to give Shelley and her squad the best chance of success in the finals.

“We want to increase participation of women and girls in sport and I hope the success of the women’s team inspires more women and girls to get involved in sport, from grassroots activity to elite level.”