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Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 13:57 UK

England Women awarded contracts

Katie Chapman and Rachel Unit
Katie Chapman (left) and Rachel Unitt will be under contract

The Football Association has stated its intention to improve the fortunes of the England Women's team by offering 17 players central contracts.

The group will be paid from a total pot worth £1.28m over a four-year period, although the FA was unwilling to reveal how the amount would be divided.

"This is a step in the right direction and a key strategy for England Women," an FA spokesman told BBC Sport.

"Players can also work up to 24 hours in the week to boost their income."

The players had to apply to be considered for the central contracts and it is understood that there is scope to increase the number available to 20.

606: DEBATE

Those tied to the new deal will have to ensure availability at all times of the year, which could explain why Kelly Smith, Alex Scott, Eni Aluko, Anita Asante and Karen Carney, who now play in the United States, are not in the 17.

"This is a vital step," said FA chairman Lord Triesman.

"It ensures that our head coach will have outstanding players available to her in the future, footballers who are great role models in women's football."

Head coach Hope Powell added: "We are delighted to be able to finally announce that 17 players have so far accepted central contracts.

"We have worked very hard with the FA board and the Professional Footballers' Association on these contracts over a long period of time to ensure they are right for the players.

"This is a great opportunity for those players who have been successful.

"These contracts will help them to focus on training and playing and, just as importantly, on getting the adequate rest time in between without having the pressures of working a 35-hour week.

"We hope this will allow our girls time to concentrate on helping England qualify for major tournaments on a consistent basis and competing at the very top level against the best teams in the world."


FA central contracts players: Rachel Brown (Everton), Siobhan Chamberlain (Chelsea), Carly Telford (Leeds Carnegie), Casey Stoney (Chelsea), Faye White (Arsenal), Rachel Unitt (Everton), Stephanie Houghton (Leeds Carnegie), Emily Westwood (Everton), Katie Chapman (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Everton), Laura Bassett (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal), Sue Smith (Leeds Carnegie), Jody Handley (Everton), Lindsay Johnson (Everton), Corrine Yorston (Bristol Academy).



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see also
Smith quits Arsenal for US league
08 Feb 09 |  Women


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