Tuesday 23 January 2024, 15:45

Gianni Infantino tells coaches the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023™ “opened the eyes of the world”

  • The FIFA President addressed the Post-FIFA Women's World Cup Coaches Forum

  • Head coaches from all 32 teams were invited to give their feedback from last year’s event

  • Discussions centre on the future of women’s football after successful 2023 finals

Gianni Infantino, opening the Post-FIFA Women's World Cup Coaches Forum, said that the “great football” played at last year's tournament in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand had opened the eyes of the world to women's football, and stressed the importance of building on that success. The two-day forum, held at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, was organised so that the current head coaches of the 32 national teams who participated last year could exchange views on technical, competition and refereeing matters. Their views, in discussions with FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger and supported by two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winning coach Jill Ellis, will help make further improvements to the tournament in the future.

Describing the event as "a very important forum for the future of women's football all over the world", the FIFA President said he was humbled to be in the presence of the coaches and thanked them for making the tournament -- the first FIFA Women's World Cup to feature 32 teams and be hosted by two nations -- a huge global success. "The stadiums were full, the atmosphere was great and, all over the world, people were watching," said the FIFA President, adding that the tournament was followed by two billion people worldwide and nearly two million in the stadiums. "For many people around the world who may be tuned into women’s football for the first time because of the buzz…..they realised that, actually, this is great sport, this is great performance, we have great athletes playing here and showing what football is. And this opened, really, the eyes of the world and we have to build on that."

For the first time, teams from all six confederations won a match, teams from five continents reached the Round of 16 and four of the eight debutants recorded historic first wins. "These are results that show how healthy women’s football is and how global it has become. And it’s our task, our duty – your task, as well, and your responsibility, as well, together with us – to make it grow further, to make it become bigger, and that’s why we are here,” he said. The FIFA President said the feedback of the coaches would be invaluable in setting out the future for women's football. Topics for discussion included the proposed post-2025 international match calendar, a global club competition for women’s football, and the new expanded youth competitions, with the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup expanded to 24 teams and the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup to be played annually in the future, and also with 24 teams.

"We are here to take your feedback, to take your input,” he said. “You are the ones who live it day by day. You are the ones who see the complications, who see the difficulties, who can tell us what we can do better." By working together, FIFA could achieve the goal of having women's football played in every member association. "We have to reach 211 countries," the FIFA President added. "All six confederations working together; if we do that, I think we can achieve new milestones and really make women and girls all over the world extremely, extremely proud."