Starling Bank today launches the first ever Fantasy Football game for the UEFA Women’s EURO ahead of the official tournament kick off on Wednesday 6th July.
The game has been developed by the tournament’s national banking partner to broaden representation for Women’s football, which has limited Fantasy Football games and has never had one for the UEFA Women’s EURO. All major Men’s football tournaments have Fantasy counterparts and more than eight million people play the Men’s Fantasy Premier League.
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of people in the UK believe Women’s football should have the same exposure as Men’s football, including the ability to be represented in Fantasy Football leagues, research suggests. One in five people say they would play Fantasy Football linked to a women’s tournament.
Rachel Yankey, the first woman in the UK to become a professional footballer, launched the industry-first Fantasy Football game. Starling Bank, the first bank in the UK to be founded by a woman, has also partnered with Women’s football experts Girls on the Ball, who will be providing regular match analysis to inform players’ Fantasy teams.
By providing expert analysis on the 16 Women’s teams in the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, Starling aims to create even more engagement with the tournament, which UEFA predicts to be the biggest women’s sporting event in European history.
Rachel Yankey, former England player and Starling Bank ambassador said: “I’m so excited to build my first Fantasy team that features England Lionesses. When I was growing up there was nothing like this. I hope that fans both young and old can really enjoy building their teams and embrace the journey that Women’s football has been on to get to where it is today.
“As a youngster I shaved my hair and pretended to be a boy just to fit in. Nowadays, the final for this tournament has already sold out Wembley Stadium before a ball has even been kicked. However, the playing field isn’t level yet – every move towards equality makes a big difference.”
Starling is encouraging friends, families and colleagues to create their own teams for the tournament to help people sharpen their budgeting skills and get them talking about women players. The game is free to play for everyone and can be found here.
Players are given a Fantasy budget of £84 million and can build fantasy teams consisting of footballers across competing EURO teams, with players able to make strategic substitutions between rounds based on footballer performance. All players are entered into a prize draw, where a randomly selected player will win one eight-seater box for the Women’s FA Cup Final 2023 at Wembley Stadium.
Helen Bierton, former Olympic athlete and Chief Banking Officer at Starling Bank said: “We built Starling bank to give people the bank we thought they deserved. Now, here we are again, launching another industry first, this time for Women’s Football. I hope this gets people talking about the brilliance of women footballers even more – as well as improving people’s budgeting skills!”
Rachel O’Sullivan, co-founder of Girls on the Ball: “It’s time we had a Fantasy league for the UEFA Women’s EURO. Fantasy Football is about so much more than creating a dream team and competing with your friends. It gets people invested in different players, watching the matches evermore closely, and celebrating players’ football skills irrespective of national borders.”
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