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Sunday, 6 August, 2000, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
Charity goal for women
football practice
The charity match may become an annual event
Women's football - the country's fastest-growing sport - holds its first FA Charity Shield match on Sunday.

The game kicks off the women's season with Premier League and FA Cup winners, Charlton - formerly Croydon - playing the League Cup holders, Arsenal.

All the proceeds from the event will go to a breast cancer charity and organisers hope to make it an annual event like the traditional curtain-raiser to the professional men's football season.

Several female celebrities have been asked to take part in a penalty shoot out before the game.


Football isn't a male bastion anymore

Catherine Knight, Football Association
And it is hoped famous faces will also be among the crowd at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground on Sunday afternoon.

Catherine Knight from the Football Association told BBC Radio Five Live that Spice Girl Mel C, sports presenter Helen Chamberlain, actress Anna Friel, sports presenter Gabby Yorath and model Jordan were expected to lend their support.

Top teams

But she said there would also be a lot of talent on the field.

"They are two of the top teams in the country and there should be a real array of women's footballing talent on display," she said.

Although the players are currently classed as amateurs, the FA has made a commitment to establish a women's professional league within the next few years.

Knight said the popularity of the women's game had grown in recent years.

Mel C of the Spice Girls
Mel C due to add spice to the event
She said: "In 1993 we only had 80 girls teams in the whole country, today we have got nearly 4,000 including schools teams

"It isn't a male bastion anymore...it is something that everyone can enjoy and you don't have to be a millionaire to do it.

"Over in Scandinavia and in America it is the top women's sport, it is only just breaking in over here."

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See also:

20 Apr 00 | Football
Fulham to launch pro women's team
04 Jun 00 | Football
Norway women thrash England
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