Sports Direct is the new shirt sponsor for Forest Green Rovers Women.
The new partnership with the women’s team is part of Sports Direct’s new Equal Play initiative, which seeks to level the playing field for women in sport, by accelerating gender diversity and equality.
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is founder of Sports Direct, and the retailer’s funding will help elevate the FGR women’s team in the following key areas to set the club up for an equal chance of success in the 21/22 season and beyond.
Sports Direct’s support of Forest Green Rovers Women comes against the backdrop of a challenging year for female grassroots football. The pandemic saw restrictions placed on training, tournaments and funding.
Full-time members of staff at the club, including the Head of Football Operations, James Mooney, will now take on roles previously undertaken as voluntary roles with the women’s team. This will professionalise the operation and allow players to concentrate their efforts on training and tournaments.
Funding will ensure players have access to strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapy and sports massage services. The club will also provide performance analysis to support team efficiency.
Bringing the club’s administration in-house with Hannah Dingley, Academy Manager, front and centre of operational decisions.
The move to integrate a women’s team within the club remains rare in the women’s game. With the best talent, coaching and support services, the team aims to climb the league quickly and establish the club as a force in women’s football.
Dale Vince, Chairman of Forest Green Rovers, said: “We have big plans for Women’s football at FGR and the backing of Sports Direct is a key enabling partnership. With the changes we’ve set in train today, we have an exciting season ahead.”
Beckie Stanion, Chief Marketing Officer at Sports Direct, added: “After a tough year for the women’s game, we are thrilled to be partnering with the brilliant Forest Green Rovers. As a brand that believes in the power of sport to champion the legend in everybody, we are committed to levelling the playing field in football. We’ll be cheering the team on and exploring how we can further support them. This is the beginning of an exciting partnership.”
Hannah Dingley, Head of Academy at Forest Green Rovers, commented: “This new partnership with Sports Direct will help us speed up our Women’s and Girl’s football programme. We want to provide opportunities for female players in the area to enjoy playing football, as well as developing a side to help us fulfil our ambition of playing in the FA Women’s Championship. This support from Sports Direct will greatly raise the profile of plans and inspire the next generation to get involved in the game.”
With sustainability at the heart of the club’s ethos – and focus on showing fans and football itself there’s another way to live, the new shirts are also made from the club’s low-impact fabric, made from waste coffee grounds and recycled water bottles. The women’s shirt will be available for purchase in-store and online at SportsDirect.com.