Monday 07 November 2022, 23:00

Bhutan developing women’s league through club licensing

  • Bhutan host their first workshop on club licensing in women's football

  • Nine clubs from the Kelme Women's League took part

  • "Women’s football in Bhutan really has huge potential" – Pema Tshering

A first-ever workshop on club licensing in women’s football has been held in the Kingdom of Bhutan in conjunction with FIFA. A total of nine clubs, who all play in the Kelme Women's League, took part, including a new side by the name of Bumtang Women's FC, who will be joining the league next year. "Hosting our first ever women’s club licensing workshop in Bhutan is a big milestone for our federation and our clubs. We believe club licensing is a tool to develop our clubs,” said Tashi Dorji Wangmo, responsible for club licences at the Bhutan Football Association. “It is very important for clubs to know the importance of club licensing,” she added. “They're still in the process of understanding the wider rules. Club licensing is bringing structure, professionalism and development into the clubs. That's why it is was so important for the clubs to attend this workshop.”

Ms.Tashi Dorji Wangmo (Assistant CL Manager)

This is exactly what is set out in the Guide to Club Licensing, which was published in April 2022 by FIFA, who are helping to promote the professionalisation and development of women’s football and raise the overall standards in clubs all around the world. FIFA’s support is of real importance to Bhutan, as Pema Tshering, Head of Women’s Football, points out. “We installed our first artificial turf [pitch] with the help of the FIFA Forward Programme. And since the installation of that artificial turf and its infrastructure, the quality of football and the interest in it has grown tremendously. That's just one example of how much the support from FIFA helps us,” she explained. “Recently I received an e-mail from the PA of the Secretary General about providing us with some donations like footballs, football kits and the like. The support is really amazing, not just in terms of equipment, but the technical support as well. FIFA’s expertise in working with different member associations and their very profound knowledge really helps us.”

Bruno Van Hellemont, Professionalisierungsmanager (FIFA-Division Frauenfussball), und Andres Portabella, FIFA-Berater

Bruno van Hellemont, Professionalisation Manager (FIFA Women’s Football division), and Andres Portabella, FIFA Advisor, also took part in the workshop in the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, as it is known, and presented a scenario for how licensing of women’s clubs around the world can work. During their stay in Bhutan, the two FIFA officials visited Thimphu Women's FC, RTC Women's FC and Paro Football Club, to see at first hand the work that is being carried out. “The main take-away from the workshop were the presentations that were given by Bruno and Andres about the club licensing,” Wangmo said. “They emphasised the importance of club licensing with examples from other member associations, which was very informative and also very beneficial for our clubs too – as well as for me. It was also very nice to see some presentations from our clubs and learn about the initiatives they are taking to promote women’s football.” In their presentation, Van Hellemont and Portabella also referred to the FIFA Benchmarking Report and underlined the importance of strategic planning.

 UAWFC vs Transport United Ladies

"Women’s football in Bhutan truly has huge potential,” Tshering continued. "We are very thankful to FIFA’s Women’s Football Division, particularly for their Development Programmes. Their support will definitely leave a lasting impact on women’s football in Bhutan. We look forward to continuing to learn from best practices and delivering the best opportunities for our girls.” The country’s women’s national team, which played two friendlies last September against Saudi Arabia, is currently 177th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking and is looking to make progress. “So far, we've only taken part in the SAFF competitions. Personally, I feel like there's no better training or exposure than playing as many friendly matches or competitions as possible,” said Tshering, who is a current Bhutan international. “Next year will be the first time that we're participating in the Olympic qualifiers. It’s creating role models. If the senior team does well internationally, the younger generation – who are the foundation – have someone they can look up to. That's why I think it's so important that our senior national team does well on international stages to set that example.” Pictures courtesy of the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF)