Support for Norwich City Girls’ Centre of Excellence continues to grow

Flashback to 2008: Action from the under 12's NCFC FA Girls Centre of Excellence matches against Ars

Flashback to 2008: Action from the under 12's NCFC FA Girls Centre of Excellence matches against Arsenal at the Open Academy. Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2008

More than 2,700 people have joined a Facebook campaign to save the Norwich City Girls' Centre of Excellence, following the Football Association's decision to remove its licence next season.

The centre helps girls develop and progress up to the age of 16, allowing them to play high quality football against other top teams in the region, but the FA licence will lapse at the end of the current season, after 17 years.

It is believed the FA's reasons include a belief the centre has not produced enough international level players, and that Norwich's location makes it hard for other teams to travel to matches there.

However, Dan Wynne, marketing and communications manager for the Community Sports Foundation, said two players had played for the England under-17 and -15 teams in recent months.

Marie Hartley's 14-year-old daughter Laura has played at the centre for five seasons.

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She said: 'It's incredibly disappointing for all the girls. They work hard to get and retain their selection and show incredible commitment, and are very proud to represent Norwich City Centre of Excellence when they play in matches across the region.

'I would say, as a parent, that the centre is a great inspiration for the girls as a whole, and it's not just the football.

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'It's about the discipline, the motivation, and the self-confidence in instils in them. Over the years my daughter has been involved, it has helped her personal skills, social development and been a significant part of her life.'

Writing on the Save Norwich City Girls Centre of Excellence Facebook page, Sarah Urquhart said: 'Unbelievable considering girls football is the fastest growing sport.'

Vicky Hutchinson wrote: 'Why should young girls in Norfolk not be given the chance to progress? This is extremely unfair. If it's too far for other teams to travel then surely the boy teams have been targeted too... guessed not! I hope the decision is overturned and the Centre of Excellence can keep running.'

What do you think? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email

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