The calls to action made at the sixth FIFA Women’s Football Symposium, held during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, were central to the discussions of the FIFA Task Force for Women’s Football which met in Zurich today.
FIFA President Blatter, who announced the creation of the Task Force in October 2013, opened the third meeting by saying: “The resounding success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada shows how far women’s football has come while also demonstrating why it is so important to ensure girls and women have the best possible access to the game, both on and off the field. Women are part of football and need to be given equal opportunities. FIFA is committed to taking a leading role in promoting gender equality and encourages all confederations and member associations to do the same.”
Following a presentation of the key conclusions of the symposium by Moya Dodd, chairwoman of the Task Force and FIFA Executive Committee co-opted member, the Task Force members confirmed the calls to action to see greater female representation across all areas of the game.
“It has been exciting to see the upsurge in interest for women’s football in the weeks following the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, but we need to ensure the momentum is maintained,” said Moya Dodd. “Today we have fully endorsed the calls to action announced during the symposium and used these to develop proposals to increase the number of women involved, not only on the field but also in governance and in business aspects of the game. This is a crucial time for FIFA as the reform process is set to advance in the coming months and the Task Force for Women’s Football will continue to push for better gender balance in football given that it undoubtedly enhances governance and improves the game overall.”
The proposals discussed during today’s meeting are based around three main areas – governance, competitions and participation, and business.
The Task Force proposes that women in football be considered as a priority by the 2016 FIFA Reform Committee. It also proposes that FIFA issue guidelines on gender inclusiveness in football governance and management. The Task Force agrees that FIFA should itself work towards being the role model for those guidelines, which should include: a target of 30 per cent for women’s participation on boards and committees and in senior management roles; women’s football being represented at the highest level and in the decision-making bodies through specialists, ideally women; women’s football being fully integrated in the strategy of every member association and processes, including the club licensing management process, being adapted to the specific needs and situations of women’s football.
Competitions and participation
The Task Force proposes that FIFA issue a strategy and plan to make football more female-friendly by increasing the number of female coaches, referees and other officials. The Task Force also agrees that, in order to continue to develop competitions, in addition to the creation of a FIFA Women’s Club World Cup (currently a work-in-progress), the number of teams and matches at confederation level for FIFA tournament qualifiers of all age categories should be increased.
The business side of the game
The Task Force proposes that FIFA issue a declaration stating that football at all levels should be funded without discrimination as to gender in fair financial proportion to its participation levels and potential, and provide guidelines for all football stakeholders to achieve this. It also proposes the development and implementation of a high-growth commercial strategy for women’s football to make it the highest economically valuable women’s sport in the world. This proposal includes conducting a research programme to analyse the current market value of women’s football and the commercial and public interest in the sport.
Among other topics discussed during today’s meeting were the newly launched Female Leadership Development Programme and the next International Women’s Day conference due to take place in March 2016. The Task Force for Women’s Football will now present the outcomes of this meeting to the FIFA Executive Committee for approval.