Scottish FA and Shoosmiths celebrate increase in women’s football referee and coach numbers

Leanne Ross, Scotland's most capped female player and now Assistant Coach of the Scotland Women's National Team. (Photo: SNS)

THE Scottish FA and Shoosmiths, a leading law firm with offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, are celebrating the third year of a successful partnership to help support the further growth of the women’s game in Scotland.  

In 2019, Shoosmiths signed a four-year deal with the Scottish FA focused on supporting the training of at least 20 new referees and 200 new coaches in women’s youth and senior football by 2023.  

The latest statistics from the Scottish FA reveal that across six regional areas in Scotland, there has once again been an increase in females starting on their coaching journey. Since May 2021 there have been 662 new female coach attendees on Level 1 courses, significantly up on the yearly average of 471. Figures from the Scottish FA also suggest that the number of female referees has increased significantly with over 100 introduced to the game since January 2019. 

Fiona McIntyre, head of girls’ and women’s football at the Scottish FA, said: “We are determined to increase participation levels from grassroots to the national team and show there is a pathway for women who want to enjoy their football and build a career in the game.”

“That absolutely applies to coaching and refereeing, so it’s heartwarming to see the statistics. We still have a long way to go but we are moving in the right direction and that only makes us more determined to push on. Progression isn’t an overnight success story. It takes a lot of planning and even more hard work, but we’re also dependent on the support of dedicated partners like Shoosmiths – who have shown their commitment to the Scottish game.”

“I hope – and believe – these numbers will only go one way and that’s something we can all be proud of.”

Leanne Ross, assistant coach of the Scotland Women’s National Team, said: “I’m enjoying the challenge of working my way through my coaching badges, alongside a busy schedule with Glasgow City and the Scotland national team.”

“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.”

“I’m still at an early stage in my own coaching journey and it’s nice to think that many more will follow in our footsteps.”

Janette Speed, Head of Shoosmiths in Scotland, commented, said: “As a leading law firm with a significant and growing presence in Scotland, Shoosmiths’ highly values teamwork, leadership and talent development.  We believe these are attributes that can also be encouraged through participation in women’s football.”

“We are very proud that statistics suggest our support of the Scottish FA since 2019 is significantly helping more women to apply and nurture their talent and leadership skills to train and qualify as coaches and referees. This strengthens the grassroots structure of the sport and ensures more young girls can enjoy being active playing football in communities throughout Scotland.”

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