Scotland: Women's game needs equal investment, says Nicola Sturgeon

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Scotland's Heroes: The Road to France
Date: Friday, 31 May Time: 20:00 BST Coverage: Watch on BBC Scotland & iPlayer
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Women's football in Scotland needs equal grassroots investment with the men's game to build on the success of World Cup qualification, says First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Shelley Kerr's Scotland have reached the finals for the first time and face England, Japan and Argentina in France this summer.

And Sturgeon says football's governing bodies "need to be very serious about investing in the development of the women's game, just as much as we do in the development of the men's game."

She added: "That involves working with young girls in schools, making sure there's the right support structures and development opportunities."

Shelley Kerr's team topped their qualifying section with seven wins from eight. They begin their group campaign against England, ranked number three in the world, 17 places above the Scots, on 9 June in Nice.

"How Scotland does overall in terms of international rankings, performance at these major competitions, I think we have to see that in the round," Sturgeon added in the BBC Scotland documentary, Scotland's Heroes - The Road To France.

"But that's not to say we shouldn't be absolutely determined to beat England in the opening match of the World Cup."

Midfielder Erin Cuthbert, a key player for head coach Kerr, is proud to be an inspiration for the next generation of Scottish talent as she prepares to grace the world stage.

"I believe young girls in our local areas all have role models now," the 20-year-old said. "I get little messages on Instagram and I get people asking me to visit their training.

"It's really special to know you have that impact. I take that with great importance and really enjoy it."

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Watch: The Scottish women in England

Retired goalkeeper Gemma Fay, the country's most capped player with 203 appearances, believes the impact of participation in this summer's showpiece will be crucial for the growth of the women's game in Scotland.

"Success is measured on how many imaginations we capture, what is the feeling towards women's football in this country?" Fay asked.

"How many more sponsors do we get into the game? How many strategic partnerships do we create? How many more opportunities do we afford younger teams to play? And what support can we give to our clubs?"

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