The Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, visited the Home of FIFA this morning to begin discussions with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter regarding a possible collaboration between UN Women and FIFA in which football would promote gender equality.

One of the key aims of UN Women, which was created in February 2010, is gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Bachelet is hoping to harness the power of football, together with FIFA’s experience and expertise, as a vehicle to achieve awareness of their goals and bring about social change in the process.

“I am delighted to be at FIFA today to discuss possibilities of collaboration between UN Women and FIFA to link the football and the promotion of gender equality,” said Bachelet. “This would consist of development programmes based on football, such as coaching clinics. We immediately formed a common understanding on these issues.”

As President of Chile during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2008, Bachelet has seen the power of football at first hand and is further convinced following her cordial discussions with the FIFA President that the beautiful game can help engineer a significant change in the lives of many women and girls across the globe.

At UN Women we are convinced that football and sport in general can be an extremely powerful tool to empower girls,” Ms. Bachelet said. “This is why we want more girls and women to become more engaged with football. Yet, in some parts of the world there are no female football clubs and no leagues, so the women’s game is stifled.”

Although the collaboration is still in its embryonic stages, Bachelet is confident the programme will progress with the UN and FIFA proving to be a perfect match.

“We will now put together a team consisting of people from both UN Women and FIFA to develop the concrete details of this project,” she said. “We need to bring the experience of both organisations together to create the best possible programme for young women and girls.”

FIFA President Blatter said: “We have acted on the request of UN Women and understand the needs that Mrs. Bachelet has brought forward in person. FIFA has been working in the area of development of women’s football for some time. Grassroots initiatives exist and will be intensified. At the same time we will tackle the socio-cultural aspect in close cooperation.”