The UEFA Women’s EURO 2013 in Sweden not only provided further evidence of the growing popularity of women’s football, it also highlighted the sport’s increasingly competitive nature. With over 30 million women now playing the game, and girls making up 12 per cent of all youth players, it is clear that the development work being done is bearing fruit.
The objective of FIFA’s Live Your Goals campaign is to encourage more young girls and women around the world to play football and to enjoy the positive experiences the game can bring. Live Your Goals also aims to show that women’s football is a legitimate and attractive component of a modern lifestyle. It offers optimism, fun, a sense of belonging as well as physical well-being. Women’s football is not only accepted in society as a whole, it is also widely respected.
Across the world over 100 Live Your Goals festivals have already taken place and that tally grows every month. *FIFA.com *looks back on the latest developments in July.*
Hong Kong: New impetus for women’s football
Hong Kong is historically intertwined with women’s football for being one of the game’s pioneers in the globe’s biggest confederation. Sensing that their status in the continental arena may have dimmed in recent years, the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) organised a series of events designed to help give women’s football new impetus. Alongside promoting the game itself, the main focus was on offering women new opportunities. It was within that framework that enthusiastic young girls participated in the ‘Let’s Kick for Fun’ festival on 6 July, which was co-ordinated by the HKFA and funded by FIFA. The youngsters’ delight was evident as they played small-sided matches, while learning the basics of football from Chan Shuk Chi, head coach of the Hong Kong women’s national team.
*Nicaragua: Increasing support
*The Live Your Goals festival was part of FIFA’s Com-Unity programme, the purpose of which is to improve awareness of the value football, including the women’s game, can have in a country. With the chance to play in Nicaragua’s national stadium for the first time, around 150 girls joined in the activities at the festival.
*Republic of Ireland: Over 800 participants
*The Republic of Ireland has been implementing Live Your Goals campaigns since 2012. On 18 July over 800 girls took part in the hugely successful latest event, with four further festivals already marked on the calendar.
*Papua New Guinea: Nurturing potential
*The vast potential for growth in Papua New Guinea is underlined by the country’s highest-ever position of 47th in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking. In order to capitalise on that, five festivals are planned this year on the world’s third-largest island state, two of which took place last month, on 19 and 26 July.
*Further festivals *FIFA’s work in developing women’s football did not stop there in July. Alongside the events mentioned above, further Live Your Goals festivals were organised in Guam (on 6 July), Senegal (7), St. Kitts and Nevis (8), Moldova (8) and Niger (29).