Committed To Breaking Down Barriers
The fourth FIFA Women’s Football Symposium in Shanghai on 28 and 29 September culminated in a resounding success as representatives from 200 out of the 208 FIFA member associations met to exchange information on the development of all levels of the women’s game throughout the world. The participants worked closely together over two days to investigate options for improving general standards, structures at the associations, the number of female players and the strategic development of the women’s game. In conclusion, the attendees agreed on a joint declaration with specific action to further foster and accelerate women’s football at all levels.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of this symposium and the great number of associations that participated,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. “This clearly shows that women’s football is already playing a vital role for the members. The results of our in-depth analyses confirm our predictions. These last three weeks have demonstrated that the FIFA Women’s World Cup was a magnificent showpiece for the attractiveness of women’s football. Over the last decade, we have provided considerable funds and activities to promote women’s football and we are committed to taking this to even greater heights with a proposed increase in dedicated Financial Assistant Programme funding to a minimum of 20%. In addition, our new commercial structure, with only six very committed FIFA Partners signed up for all World Cups for men, women and at youth level, offers more flexibility to activate rights packages at local level. This will help the organising associations build strategic alliances to create and fund local structures with a lasting benefit beyond the FIFA competitions,” he added.
He also stressed that FIFA relies on its members to do their homework to ensure the empowerment of women’s football in their countries. “We have created a World Cup structure for FIFA U-17 and U-20 women’s competitions now matching the men’s, we have also trained female coaches and referees but what we need are more national and international competitions in the confederations and associations where women can get a chance to compete regularly at all levels and in all age groups. For the Game. For the World. For the Women,” said the FIFA President in an appeal to the members.
The participating associations also acknowledged the benefits that the enormous growth in women’s football have injected into the sport of football in terms of participation, opportunities to compete, spectators, television viewers and the huge improvement in standards of play that were also witnessed at the fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup in China.
The main proposals to take women’s football to greater heights were:
• to build partnerships by calling on governments, in particular sports, health and education ministries, to discuss how their objectives can be realised through football and especially football for girls and women,
• to take the initiative to dismantle cultural and social barriers to women and girls’ readiness to participate in the sport of football, and to take whatever
action is necessary to promote the acceptance of football as a sport for women and girls,
• toempowerwomenwiththeknowledge gained from the symposium and from other experiences to show initiative to implement the above actions,
• to establish or reinforce football competitions at national and regional levels to give young women and girls the opportunity to continue to develop their skills in the sport.