Wednesday 20 December 2023, 19:30

Gianni Infantino meets the new Belgian FA President Pascale Van Damme

  • Pascale Van Damme is the first woman to head the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA)

  • The meeting took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, ahead of the FIFA Football Summit 2023

  • Discussions centred on the development of women’s football

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has met the new head of the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA), Pascale Van Damme, to talk about the development of women’s football and the importance of creating an inclusive environment for female players. The meeting took place on the eve of the FIFA Football Summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, providing the FIFA President with the first opportunity to meet the first female President in the RBFA’s history following Ms Van Damme’s election in May, when she replaced Paul Van Den Bulck.

“I was delighted to meet Pascale Van Damme, the recently-elected President of the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA), here in Jeddah and I congratulated her on becoming the first female to head the RBFA,” said the FIFA President. “In addition to being a milestone for Belgian football, her election was also important for football generally as we need more of our member associations to be led by women. “I have full confidence that, under her leadership, the RBFA will keep up its great work in developing talented footballers and that it will further develop the women’s football, as well as expanding its social role.” The meeting provided the FIFA President with the opportunity to thank Ms Van Damme for Belgium’s interest in co-hosting the FIFA Women's World Cup 2027™ with the Netherlands and Germany. The other bids are Brazil and Mexico/United States.

“It was a very interesting discussion,” Ms Van Damme said. “We talked about how we can work together with all the federations to bring the football family [and] community to the next level, and how we can develop young girls, give them a future, make them feel like they belong to the bigger community. “It was really about what we can do with [the] digital transformation to add to the football community [and] create that diverse and inclusive environment where people feel they belong. So, I was really convinced; I was really very inspired by the President, how he sees the future and how he is also very supportive in working very closely together with the different federations.” The RBFA President added that the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ had been a “fantastic” tournament and set a great example for those bidding for the next tournament.