The landmark three-year agreement sees Boots sponsor the national women’s football teams of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, along with England, Wales, and Scotland.
Boots' sponsorship includes the World Cup in France this June - although unfortunately neither Ireland nor Northern Ireland will be playing - and the 2021 European Championship in England.
Helen Normoyle, Boots UK's marketing director, said: "Via our partnership, we are excited to give the inspirational women in these teams the chance to tell their stories and to hopefully encourage other women to experience the amazing confidence that sport can bring."
The deal will be utilised in different ways across each team (for Northern Ireland, it covers health and wellbeing initiatives only). The partnership will also go a long way to boosting the profile of the sport in Ireland and the UK.
According to research from UEFA 80 per cent of young women feel more confident when playing in a football team. The sport is becoming increasingly popular in Ireland, with stand out stars including FIFA Puskas Award 2015 nominee Stephanie Roche and Emma Byrne, the first female inductee to the FAI’s Hall of Fame.
In 2018 the 20x20 initiative was launched to improve the visibility of women in all aspects of sport in Ireland. Research had shown that women's-only sport was hugely underrepresented in the media. Just 3 per cent of print coverage and 4 per cent of online coverage is dedicated to it, with less than 20 per cent of all sport on TV featuring sport relating to either women only or mixed sport.
The campaign aims to achieve the following by the end of 2020
- 20 per cent more media coverage of women in sport
- 20 per cent more female participation (player, coach, referee or administration level)
- 20 per cent more attendance at women’s games and events
Hopefully, this new sponsorship by such a well-known high street name will have a further positive effect on women's football all across the island of Ireland.