Female journalists from 14 countries have been briefed on preparations by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 during the 9th Arab Women Sports Journalists' Forum - themed 'Jordan Our Playground'.

Participants in the forum, organised by the Arab Sports Press Association in cooperation with the Jordan Sports Information Federation, were brought up-to-date with details on the preparations by the LOC ahead of hosting the global youth championship. LOC CEO Samar Nassar highlighted the significance of hosting the championship for Jordan, including the positive impact on sports, the society, economy and tourism. The tournament will help develop the country’s sports facilities and raise the profile of women’s football, while at the same time showing the kingdom’s brightest side to thousands of football fans from around the world.

“We count on the media as a strategic partner of the LOC, in order to make the hosting of FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 a success and attract the attention of the world," Nassar told the journalists. "We were eager to provide you with all the details of our preparations so far as well as our future plans. We hope that you will portray through the various media outlets in your countries the importance of this key championship, one which will be organised in the Arab world for the first time.”

Following Nassar’s remarks, one of the participants, Morocco’s Hanan Shafaa told FIFA.com about the importance of participating in the forum and learning about all aspects of hosting the tournament. “Our presence in Jordan gets us closer to the preparations by the LOC for hosting the event," she said.

"We were impressed by all the plans that are underway, with the aim of achieving a high level of readiness," she added. "We are confident in Jordan’s capabilities and proud to see an Arab country hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. We will continue to support this championship and convey what we have seen to our countries.

This could open new horizons for Arab communities as well as Arab girls to compete in football.

Mariam Mohammad

Bahrain’s Mariam Mohammad said she was delighted with her experience in the kingdom: “I am very happy and proud to see what Arab women can achieve. There are many professional cadres in the LOC who are managing this event. Programmes were designed to attract as many women and girls as possible, which is excellent.

"This could open new horizons for Arab communities as well as Arab girls to compete in football," she continued. "What we saw in Jordan motivates me to call on all women in Arab countries to take advantage of this major and unique event and visit Jordan to attend as many matches as possible, enjoying the game we love.”

For her part, FIFA Senior Media Relations Manager, Segolene Valentin, gave participants a presentation on mechanisms of covering FIFA World Cups through different media platforms and how to follow relevant news on the U-17 Women’s World Cup on FIFA.com as well as social media networks. Valentin said journalists should register for the FIFA Media Channel, which is the best way to stay updated. She also spoke about the key role the media plays in breaking down barriers, highlighting women’s football and attracting fans to watch matches at stadiums.

Zeinab Al Zidjali of Oman said she was impressed with the ideas presented and emphasised the need to remain updated on the event through FIFA media platforms. “I've been following international football matches but I was not aware of the mechanisms of covering such major events," she said.

"We have obtained detailed information on FIFA Media Channel registration and how to stay close to the event, as well as other procedures. This definitely motivates me as an Arab woman to come to Jordan and live the experience, which will boost my professional career and help me cover more international championships, which always attract global attention.”

Tunisian Sondos Al Tweihri, a local television presenter, said: “I had not been familiar with the content of the Media Channel, but now it will be my first source to get the information I need for FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 reports. As for the tournament itself, I am confident that Jordan is capable of doing a great job in hosting the event, making Arab women proud and emphasising their ability to organise such championships.”

These Arab women journalists will be seen as ambassadors for their countries, conveying their experiences in their coverage. This in turn aims to help educate different communities on the importance of Arab girls' participation in football, as a means of advancing and competing with countries where women’s football is well-established.