Wednesday 15 May 2024, 14:00

Gianni Infantino highlights FIFA's commitment to women's football as he attends leadership event

  • FIFA President attended the Leadership Forum: Executive Women in Football

  • Female football leaders from across the world participated

  • Mr Infantino emphasised that the 32-team FIFA Women’s World Cup™ was a huge success

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has highlighted FIFA's commitment to women's football and reflected on its growth in the last few years during a forum for women working at football's highest levels in Bangkok, Thailand. The Leadership Forum: Executive Women in Football event took place two days before the 74th FIFA Congress and was attended by female FIFA Council Members as well as female Member Association presidents, vice presidents, general secretaries and executive committee members. FIFA’s Chief Women’s Football Officer Dame Sarai Bareman opened the event which also featured an address by Football Association of Thailand (FAT) Nualphan Lamsam, who became the first woman to occupy the role when she was elected earlier this year. That was followed by a panel featuring FIFA Vice President and Chair of The Football Association Debbie Hewitt MBE, FIFA Council Member and Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association President Sonia Fulford, and Portuguese Football Association General Secretary Teresa Romão.

"I had the opportunity to engage with female executive leaders by highlighting FIFA’s commitment to women’s football and I encouraged them to continue pushing us to improve the women’s game," said the FIFA President. "This event, designed and implemented to bolster FIFA’s efforts to accelerate the growth of women’s football and the representation of women in our game, united female leaders from the football world to not only empower and celebrate them but also to harness the opportunity of the 74th FIFA Congress to create a strong global network of executive women. "We remain committed to broadening female representation and diversity in football decision-making at all levels by refining regulatory frameworks and creating supported pathways for women. Football's popularity stems from it being accessible for all and we are keen on extending the same at all levels in the game - on and off the pitch."

At present, there are 10 female presidents and 24 female general secretaries among FIFA’s 211 Member Associations while 83% of FIFA Member Associations have at least one female executive committee member, up from 64% in 2019. Seventy-two per cent of FIFA Member Associations have a women’s football committee. The FIFA President said that the decision to increase the number of teams at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023™ to 32 had been a "huge success" with eight debutants and surprise results, and it had generated record-breaking revenues. "This shows the health of women's football. It shows that we were right in investing in women's football," he said. He explained that FIFA was expanding its women's youth tournaments to give more players the chance to play competitive international games. "We have to proceed along this path that we have started along," Mr Infantino said, although he added that there was still a long way to go. "We have to do more, we have to do better," he said. "We mustn't make the mistake of copying men's football, we have to do something specific for the women's game so it can grow in the best way."