Blackpool FC and Blackpool FC Community Trust have partnered with Liontrust, the specialist fund management company, as a principal partner and the front of shirt sponsor for the Girls’ Emerging Talent Centre for the 2023/24 season.
The Centre supports the development of young female players aged eight to 16, and provides a wider and more diverse talent pool for women’s football.
Liontrust is an independent, specialist asset manager established in 1995, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange as a member of the FTSE 250. It seeks to enable investors to enjoy a better financial future through investing in a range of global equities, fixed income, sustainable investment and multi-asset portfolios and funds.
The Girls Emerging Talent Centre, run by Blackpool FC Community Trust, is designed to be a central hub, working with grassroots clubs, schools and local coaches to identify talented female players. It is also part of the FA Pathway towards the Lionesses. It is offered free to all, removing the financial burden often faced with elite level training.
With Liontrust’s support, Blackpool FC Community Trust plans to offer a comprehensive approach to player development, giving all girls selected access to a high-quality training programme, strength and conditioning coaches, access to an onsite physiotherapist, nutritional advice and health and wellbeing support. Groups will also be invited to play in competitive games against other ETC programmes.
Liontrust’s focused support and investment via the ETC will improve accessibility and increase inclusivity for local young female footballers who are starting out on an elite development pathway. The FA’s ETC programme will lead to the number of young female players engaged in FA programmes, nationally rising from 1,722 to over 4,200 by the end of the 2023/24 season.
Jonty Castle, Chief Revenue Officer at Blackpool FC said:
“We are delighted to be able to develop this exciting partnership with Liontrust. Following the incredible success of the Lionesses winning the European Championships last summer, there has been an outstanding rise in the amount of young girls who are now participating in the National Game.
“Liontrust’s support in this area has been fantastic, and in becoming the new front of shirt sponsor for the Girls Emerging Talent Centre, we hope to be able to attract and develop the best female players in the area.”
Ash Hackett, CEO, Blackpool FC Community Trust added:
“We are very pleased that Liontrust has taken such an interest in our Girls Emerging Talent Centre.
“One of the elements that has made our project unique across the country is that we have removed all charges for the players, to support with removing the barriers to taking part and Liontrust’s support really contributes to this.
“I’d like to thank Liontrust for their support in allowing us to make this the best opportunity for local girls and really increase the quality of the only FA endorsed provision for talented players on the Fylde Coast.”
Simon Hildrey, Chief Marketing Officer of Liontrust concluded:
“The FA Girls’ Emerging Talent Centres are a fantastic initiative as they provide the chance for female players to develop their football skills and be offered a potential pathway all the way to the Lionesses.
“The ETCs ensure players can participate in elite training by removing financial barriers and are crucial to enabling greater access and inclusivity for female players across the country, but particularly vital in economically deprived regions.
“Liontrust chose to partner with Blackpool FC Community Trust as part of our commitment to support social mobility through providing opportunities for young people. This builds on Liontrust’s existing support for financial education in primary and secondary schools throughout the UK.”