Former Arsenal star Ludlow hopeful for future of women’s game

Jayne Ludlow celebrates winning the Women's FA Cup with Arsenal during her playing career

Jayne Ludlow celebrates winning the Women's FA Cup with Arsenal during her playing career - Credit: PA

Former Arsenal Women’s star and current Wales manager Jayne Ludlow believes the coronavirus pandemic will not halt the growth of the women’s game.

Speaking to BBC Sport Ludlow said clubs will have to “tighten their belts” in future, but is hopeful women’s football will regain its momentum.

“For me the women’s game still has lots of growing to do on and off the pitch,” she said.

“The bigger picture is changing. There is more interest in the game. It is becoming more of the environment I would have hoped for when I was a young player.”

Ludlow won nine League titles and a UEFA Champions League with Arsenal and believes the game will be strong enough to recover because its roots are now much stronger and attitudes have altered.

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“It is the norm now for females to play the game, you don’t have to put up with the prejudices. That is the game-changer,” she added.

“People talk about the media, the structural and sponsorship aspects which go with it.

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“But for me the game-changer long term is that there are more young kids playing because their families are happy for them to play.

“They are not stopped from playing, so the number of players in the next few years will keep rising. That whole mindset of people thinking certain sports are for certain genders is becoming irrelevant.”

Ludlow is convinced supporters will return to watch women’s football when they are allowed back in stadiums and went on to add: “I don’t think we will ever get to the point where the finances are similar in regard to the top level of the Premier League and the female leagues. That is not going to happen.

“I think clubs are just going to have to tighten their belts a bit in the short term. I hope that won’t have too much of a knock-on effect to all the other drivers behind the game now.

“I think there are lots of good people in high-level positions in the game that will still want to ensure it carries on growing.”

Ludlow’s Wales side are due to be back in action on September 22 as they play Norway away in a rearranged Euro qualifier match.

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