FIFA experts strategize future of women’s football development

  • FIFA hosted a workshop dedicated to the development of women’s football

  • Week-long workshop in Dubai welcomed 25 experts from all six confederations

  • FIFA has worked with 84 Member Associations on 212 different projects since the launch of the Women’s Development Programme

FIFA’s Women’s Football Division welcomed experts from all corners of the globe to Dubai for a workshop dedicated to the development of women’s football. The COVID-19 pandemic made it largely impossible for FIFA’s experts to meet in person, yet the use of virtual meeting platforms allowed the Women’s Development Programme to continue to reach all corners of the globe. The workshop in Dubai marked the first in-person meeting for the cohort of experts who spent their time analysing existing development initiatives from the past 18 months and strategizing how to further develop women’s football in the future.

FIFA Women's Football Experts Workshop - Arijana Demirovic

“There are currently 25 experts working across 84 member associations on over 200 different programmes” explained Arijana Demirovic," FIFA’s Head of Women’s Football Development. “It was crucial for us to come together and discuss the work that’s been done already, as well as look to the future. The workshop allowed us to discuss how we are going to approach new programmes, especially now that the COVID-19 situation is changing, enabling our experts and instructors to travel and to be on the ground with our member associations as much as possible. The goal is to empower our member associations to continue to accelerate the growth of women’s football globally.” The FIFA’s Women’s Football Development experts were also joined by staff from FIFA’s Regional Office based in Dubai, as well as representatives from the UAE, including Football Association General Secretary Mohammed Al Dhaheri and Women’s National Team Coach Houriya Altaheri, who led discussions about women’s football in the region.

Thuba Sibanda (FIFA Women’s Football Expert) described the workshop as also a celebration. “COVID-19 has been brutal, but what we’ve managed to achieve as a team is something to celebrate. We shared those stories and what we’ve been able to learn from the different member associations we’ve been working with. “There are different approaches we have to take in different countries, with a flexibility required by us all, to adapt to different situations. Hearing other people’s stories also inspires your own work going forward. “Hearing the mountain that someone climbed and how they tackled it. Then you know you can also do the same. It’s about overcoming and achieving what we need to achieve for the girls out there around the world. I walked away from this week feeling even more motivated to do what I can to grow the women’s game.”

The Women’s Development Programme aligns with Goal No. 8 in FIFA’s The Vision: 2020-2023 (Accelerate the Growth of women’s football) and aims to provide all 211 member associations with the opportunity to access additional resources and specialist expertise to develop the women’s game. Since the launch of FIFA’s Women’s Development Programme, in collaboration with regionally based women’s football experts, FIFA has worked with 84 Member Associations on 212 projects. The eight development programmes of FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy provide a ‘menu’ for FIFA’s member associations, whilst in recent months, newer programmes and pilots have been added. Including a Menstrual Health hygiene programme in South Sudan, a research project with nurses in Malawi, and a continuation of work following on from the launch of the landmark benchmarking report on elite women’s football.

Next week, following the recent successful conclusion of the UEFA-FIFA Women in Football Leadership Programme, pairings for the new iteration of FIFA’s Coach Mentorship Programme will be announced. 20 female mentees being supported by 20 male and female mentors currently working in the women’s international game. Naturally, will bring you further news on this in the coming days, weeks and months.

FIFA is working to empower girls and women, make football a sport for all and advocate against gender discrimination.
GRENOBLE, FRANCE - JUNE 15: Christine Sinclair of Canada celebrates following her sides victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group E match between Canada and New Zealand at Stade des Alpes on June 15, 2019 in Grenoble, France. (Photo by Naomi Baker - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Enhance the Commercial Value

Shaping new revenue streams and optimising existing ones around the women’s game will allow expansion of development efforts.

AMMAN, JORDAN - JANUARY 25: Children play football during a FIFA Grassroots schools program on January 25, 2019 in Amman, Jordan. (Photo by Maja Hitij - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Build the Foundations
Creating a more sophisticated women’s football ecosystem and encouraging leadership roles for women at every level will modernise management of the game.
AMMAN, JORDAN - JANUARY 24: Children pose for a selfie with a coach during a FIFA Grassroots schools program on January 24, 2019 in Amman, Jordan. (Photo by Maja Hitij - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Grow participation

Increasing the level of female participation in football all over the world, with the stated goal of having 60 million players by 2026.