A NEW campaign has been launched to try and get more young girls playing football.

The sport has traditionally been male-dominated, but now it seems that the female sector may be striking back.

There is now a national FA Women's Premier League with teams from household names like Tottenham and Leicester City, and in Sussex the leading women's teams are Brighton, Lewes and Chichester City.

Now the Sussex County FA - based at Culver Road, Lancing - is launching an exciting new initiative to provide localised playing opportunities for girls.

Their target areas initially for this scheme are in the Rother area of East Sussex and the Arun area of West Sussex.

Two mini-leagues are being set up in the east and west of the county each with six fixture dates between October and April.

The set-up of fixtures will be flexible as the mini-leagues develop and the aim is to provide 60 minutes of football per team on each fixture date.

The venues have been chosen in areas where there is limited access to girl’s football teams and it is hoped this will encourage more teams to get a group of girls together to play.

Clare Nichols, Football Development Officer at the Sussex County FA, said: "We have had feedback from clubs and some parents about the lack of opportunities in areas such as Rother and Arun.

"One of the common reasons cited is that to join the existing girls competition involves a countywide league and for teams, players and parents just starting out in football it is often too big of a commitment.

"We hope that these new leagues will offer the opportunity for localised competition to help encourage teams to get started, they can then choose whether to carry on or look to join more established leagues in the future."

The venues are Arun Sports Arena at Rollaston Park, Ford Airfield, Yapton, and Battle Sports Centre North Trade Road, Battle.

Age groups are under 8s, 10s and 12s.

Andy Hodder, sports centre manager at Battle Sports Centre, said: "We have been keen to get some regular girls football activity at the sports centre and hope this initiative will help to increase football participation in the local area."

The leagues are open to any group or organisation, whether an existing football club who may have a few girls interested in playing as a team, or a uniformed or youth/community group with a keen group of girls and maybe even a school team who’d like some varied competition.

The mini-league based at the Arun Sports Arena has the added bonus of being played on indoor 3G pitches.

For more details call 01903 766855.