FIFA experts develop strategies for the future development of women’s football

  • FIFA held a workshop on the development of women’s football

  • 25 experts from all six confederations took part in the week-long workshop in Dubai

  • Since the launch of the Women’s Football Development Programme, FIFA has worked with 84 member associations on 212 different projects

FIFA’s Women’s Football Division welcomed experts from all over the world to Dubai last week for a workshop on women’s football development. The COVID-19 pandemic had made it largely impossible for experts to meet in person for two years, but thanks to the use of virtual meeting platforms, the women’s football development program was able to continue to reach all parts of the world. The workshop in Dubai was the first face-to-face meeting of the expert group. They took the opportunity to analyze the development initiatives of the past 18 months and to develop strategies for the further development of women’s football.

“Currently, 25 experts in 84 member associations are working on more than 200 different programmes,” said Arijana Demirovic, FIFA’s head of women’s football development. “It was very important for us to finally get together again and discuss the work already done, but also to take a look into the future. The workshop allowed us to discuss how we will approach new programs, especially now, as the COVID-19 situation eases and our experts and trainers are able to travel again to visit our member associations as often as possible.Our goal is to empower member associations to support the growth of women’s football around the move the world forward.” In addition to those attending the FIFA women’s football development workshop, staff from the FIFA regional office in Dubai and representatives from the United Arab Emirates, including the general secretary of the Football Association, Mohammed Al Dhaheri, and the coach of the women’s national team, Houriya Altaheri, were also present. They held discussions about women’s football in the region.

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For FIFA women’s football expert Thuba Sibanda, however, the workshop was also an opportunity to celebrate. “COVID-19 has made brutal cuts, but what we’ve achieved as a team is cause for celebration. We’ve shared many stories and talked about what we’ve learned from the different member associations we’ve worked with. We have to take very different approaches in different countries, and we all need to be flexible to adapt to different situations. Hearing the stories of other people involved is also an inspiration for your own further work. Hearing the mountain someone has climbed and when he’s done it, you know you can do it. It’s about overcoming problems and achieving the goals that we need to achieve for girls around the world. I’m after this week with that I went home feeling even more motivated to do whatever I can to help women’s football advance.”

The Women’s Football Development Program derives from Goal 8 in FIFA Vision 2020-2023 (Accelerating the growth of women’s football) and aims to provide all 211 member associations with opportunities to access additional resources and expertise to advance women’s football. Since the launch of FIFA’s Women’s Football Development Programme, FIFA has worked with a total of 84 member associations on 212 projects in collaboration with local women’s football experts. The eight development programs under FIFA’s Women’s Football Development Strategy represent a “menu” for FIFA member associations. New programs and pilot projects have been added in recent months, including a menstrual hygiene program in South Sudan, a research project with nurses in Malawi and the continuation of work following the publication of the Elite Women’s Football Benchmarking Report.

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Following the recent successful completion of the UEFA/FIFA Women in Leadership Scheme, the new pairings for the next edition of the FIFA Female Coach Mentorship Scheme will be announced next week. 20 female mentees are supported by 20 male and female mentors currently working in women’s football. Of course, will be bringing more news in this area in the coming days, weeks and months.

Strategy for women’s football

FIFA is committed to empowering girls and women and making football a sport for everyone. At the same time, she fights against gender-specific discrimination.

GRENOBLE, FRANCE - JUNE 15: Christine Sinclair of Canada celebrates following her sides victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group E match between Canada and New Zealand at Stade des Alpes on June 15, 2019 in Grenoble, France. (Photo by Naomi Baker - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

increase in commercial value

Creating new revenue streams and optimizing existing ones around women’s competitions will make it possible to expand development efforts.

AMMAN, JORDAN - JANUARY 25: Children play football during a FIFA Grassroots schools program on January 25, 2019 in Amman, Jordan. (Photo by Maja Hitij - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Creating a strong foundation

Creating a more challenging environment for women’s football and promoting women in leadership roles will modernize the direction of the game.

AMMAN, JORDAN - JANUARY 24: Children pose for a selfie with a coach during a FIFA Grassroots schools program on January 24, 2019 in Amman, Jordan. (Photo by Maja Hitij - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

increasing participation

Increasing female participation in football around the world is a core part of FIFA 2.0. The stated goal is to reach 60 million active players by 2026.