Football has a long history of inequality. In the 19th century, women were forced to play in corsets and were subject to so much ridicule they played under fake names. And between 1921 and 1969, they were banned from playing in official tournaments altogether as the sport was deemed ‘most unsuitable for women’.

The sport has progressed massively for women since then, with the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 tournament set to be the biggest women’s sporting event in European history.

But the playing field isn’t level yet. Women earn less than their male counterparts, can’t always access the same training opportunities as male players, and don’t receive the same level of promotional activity and commercial sponsorship around their tournaments.

Introducing Starling Bank’s UEFA Women’s EURO Fantasy Football 2022

One of the promotional activities that Women’s football has lacked is Fantasy Football - until now. Fantasy Football is a popular game, where people create dream teams of players that accumulate points based on their match performance. The men’s game has countless leagues, but Fantasy Football has never been available for the UEFA Women’s EURO.

Starling is a national sponsor of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 and we’ve launched the first ever Fantasy Football game in the UK for it. We couldn’t be more excited for you to play it. The more people that watch the women’s matches and get to know about women players, the more progress is made in elevating the women’s game to the status of the men’s.

We’re also over the moon to have Rachel Yankey, the first woman professional footballer in England, who shaved her head as a child to pass for a boy and play in her local boy’s team, on board as our ambassador for our Fantasy Football game.

Free for all

Fantasy Football is a simple game, whether you’re a Fantasy pro or you’re never even heard of it. Our version is free for all to play. All you need to sign up is your email address, before naming your team (we’ve got you covered there) and entering them into a league or creating your own.

You can customise your team with dream players across the 16 competing nations - as long as you can stick to your Fantasy budget of £84 million. You earn points depending on how your players perform in the real-life tournament, and as the tournament progresses, you can make strategic player transfers depending on how they perform and whether they align with your budget.

Throughout the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you top tips for building your fantasy team thanks to our Women’s football experts at Girls on the Ball. And of course, as a bank, we’ll be giving you our top tips for balancing your budget, too.

You’ve got to be in it to win it

It won’t be the winning that counts, but the taking part. Everyone that enters a Fantasy team will be in with a chance of winning an eight-seater box to the Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley next year. (Those that excel at the game will also get bragging rights among colleagues, friends and family.) The game is open for registration now until the tournament closes on 31st July.

For women footballers of the past, a level playing field was no more than a fantasy. In 2022, we’re hoping our Fantasy Football game will help to turn equality in the women’s game into a reality.

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