Starling Bank kicks off the first-ever fantasy football match for the UEFA Women’s EURO today ahead of the tournament’s official kick-off on Wednesday 6 July.
The game was developed by the tournament’s domestic banking partner to broaden the representation of women’s football, which limited fantasy football matches and never had any for the UEFA Women’s EURO. All major men’s football tournaments have fantasy equivalents and over eight million people play in the Men’s Fantasy Premier League1.
Almost two-thirds (63%) of people in the UK believe women’s football should be given the same visibility as men’s football, including the opportunity to be represented in fantasy football leagues, according to research. One in five say they would play Fantasy Football linked to a women’s tournament2.
Rachel Yankey, the first woman in the UK to become a professional footballer, launched the industry’s first Fantasy Football game. Starling Bank, the first bank in the UK to be founded by a woman, has also teamed up with women’s football experts Girls on the Ball, who will provide regular match analysis to inform fantasy teams of players.
By providing expert analysis on the 16 women’s teams at UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, Starling aims to create even more engagement with the tournament, which UEFA predicts will be the biggest women’s sporting event in the world. European history.
Rachel Yankey, former England player and Starling Bank Ambassador, said: “I am delighted to form my first fantasy team with the Lionesses of England. When I was growing up, there was nothing like it. I hope fans, young and old, will really enjoy building their teams and seeing how women’s football has come 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 of this tournament has already sold out Wembley Stadium before a ball even was kicked in. However, the playing field is not yet level – every move towards equality makes a big difference.
Starling encourages friends, families and colleagues to create their own tournament teams to help people hone their budgeting skills and get them talking about the players. The game is free for everyone and can be found here.
Players are given a fantasy budget of £84m and can build fantasy squads of footballers in competing EURO teams, with players able to make strategic substitutions between rounds based on footballer performance. All players are entered into a draw, where one randomly selected player will win an eight-seater box for the 2023 Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
Helen Bierton, former Olympian and Chief Banking Officer of Starling Bank, said: “We created 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 inspires people to talk about the brilliance of female footballers even more, as well as improve their 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 more than creating a dream team and compete with your friends. This inspires people to get invested in different players, watching matches closer and closer and celebrating players’ footballing skills regardless of national borders.