Women’s Football in the Highlands and Islands will benefit from investment and greater profile thanks to the new sponsorship from ScottishPower. The green energy company becomes the title sponsor of Scottish Women’s Football’s Highlands and Islands League for the 2024 season as part of a three-year deal as SWF’s Principal Partner.
Marking the start of Scottish Women and Girls in Sport week, Sports Minister Maree Todd joined SWF CEO Aileen Campbell, ScottishPower’s Director of Engagement Hazel Gulliver, and the goalkeeper for newly crowned league champions Buckie Ladies, Sophia Golebiewski, at Ross County’s stadium Victoria Park to meet players from the club’s newly-formed women’s team.
The Dingwall club are set to be the latest addition to the women’s leagues, launching new teams into both the ScottishPower Highlands and Islands Women’s League and the regional SWFL next season.
Sports Minister Maree Todd said: “I’m pleased to be at Ross County’s Victoria Park stadium during Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week to meet players from the club’s newly-formed women’s teams and meet representatives of Buckie Ladies FC who secured a cup double winning the Scottish Power Highlands & Islands League Trophy and the Highlands and Island Cup. It is encouraging to learn about the development and growth of the Highlands and Islands League with the backing of new sponsors and I hope this will inspire women and girls across the length and breadth of the country to take part in football and sport more generally.”
Commenting,ScottishPower’s Director of Engagement Hazel Gulliver said: “As a footballer myself, it’s really exciting to support the kick off of Women and Girls in Sport Week here in Dingwall with the league champions as well as the newest team on the block. Both are brilliant examples of how women’s football has grown and developed across the Highlands and Islands while showcasing fantastic role models who will inspire other girls and women to follow in their footsteps. Supporting them on that pathway from grassroots to professional is exactly why we’ve partnered with SWF to energise and empower the women’s game right across the country – from Buckie to Boroughmuir – and help remove the barriers that can exclude women and girls. That’s a goal we should all be aiming for and we’re proud to be working with the Highlands and Islands League to do just that.”
For her part, Aileen Campbell said: “The theme for this year’s Women and Girls in Sport Week is ‘inclusion’ and Scottish Women’s Football recognises that geography can play its part in excluding women and girls from playing the game they love. As we look to grow the game we need to recognise the specific challenges faced by clubs in the Highlands and Islands and look for ways to enhance opportunities in all parts of Scotland. ScottishPower’s backing for our Highlands and Islands League has really energised the competition and we are determined that every club will feel the benefit of the increased visibility and investment. We’re here in Dingwall to welcome Ross County into the fold, and we saw from the thrilling 14s final last week against old rivals Inverness Caley Thistle that they have a strong pathway which provides a stable base from which to launch their women’s teams.”
Iain MacIver is the Chair of Ross County WFC and head coach of the former 16s team making their step up into senior football. He said: “We’re delighted to welcome the sports minister and ScottishPower here to Dingwall to mark Scottish Women and Girls in Sport week. Launching senior women’s teams into the Highlands and Islands league and senior pyramid has always been part of the long-term plan here at Ross County, because the club has grown massively over the last few years. With huge numbers just now progressing through the age groups, it is a next natural step to give local girls a pathway to play senior football at a level that suits them and I’d encourage any local players to get in touch.”
Buckie Ladies manager Laura Duncan said: “Everyone at Buckie Ladies is so proud of achieving a second league and cup double, and you could see from the final that Caithness gave us a real game, demonstrating the growing quality in our league. With ScottishPower coming in as title sponsors, the hope is that our league will continue to grow and develop so that women across the Highlands and Islands have the opportunity to play competitive football.”