Friday 08 July 2022, 05:00

Ecuador looks to the future with women’s club licensing

  • Seminar on licensing of women’s football clubs held for the first time in Ecuador

  • Fifty attendees discussed and shared experiences of the licensing system

  • William Poveda (FEF): “The implementation of club licensing has been essential in fostering professionalism”

Since 2019, much of the focus of the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) has been on the development of women’s football across the length and breadth of the South American country. The first step was also the biggest – the launch of the Superliga Femenina – and since then the project, in which 16 teams are participating, has gone from strength to strength. “The FEF covers the costs of refereeing, medical insurance in the event of accidents, out-of-province transport and scheduling for the Superliga Femenina,” said William Poveda, the FEF’s Director of Licensing and Competitions. “And just to give you an example of a success story: we are the only women’s league in the region with 100 per cent female referees.” However, despite this laudable progress, there are still some objectives that have not yet been attained. One such aim is to strengthen the women’s club licensing system, a FIFA tool used to maximise the development of women’s club football for FIFA’s 211 member associations.

Poveda continued: “The implementation of club licensing has been essential in fostering professionalisation with established quality standards that clubs need to meet to obtain a licence and take part in high-level competitions.” In a spirit of continuous improvement, the Federation hosted a seminar in June on women’s club licensing for the first time in Guayaquil, Ecuador. “The analysis of different perspectives of women’s football – both domestic and international – carried out by experts in various areas gives us a broader view of the paths that must be taken to achieve the targets set for an increasingly competitive and sustainable women’s game,” added Poveda.

Benefits of the licensing system

  • Proximity between member associations and clubs

  • Increased professionalisation in the way clubs are managed

  • Encourages clubs’ financial transparency

  • Improves good governance

  • Increased number of youth academy teams and players

  • Encourages investment

  • Improved stadiums, offices and training facilities

  • Risk and crisis management assistance

The seminar was attended by 50 participants, who had the opportunity to listen to and discuss various topics. In addition to the different aspects of the licensing system, they also talked about how the system has worked around the world, the Liga MX Femenil success story, FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy, the prevention of gender-based violence, and digital marketing metrics.

Seminar on Club Licensing for women’s football in Ecuador

“One of FIFA’s objectives in the Vision 2020-2023 is to accelerate the growth of women’s football,” said Ignacio Toro, FIFA’s Professionalisation Manager for Women’s Football. “In that respect, the club licensing system is a tool that establishes and elevates the standard of leagues and clubs, driving professionalisation and development with an approach that is tailored to the reality of member associations.” Courtesy of events like this, women’s football in Ecuador continues to make progress and to reduce the gap with the men’s game. “Taking part in this event run by the FEF, who have brought together club owners, CONMEBOL, Liga MX Femenil, Concacaf, the UN, public entities, media representatives and brands to focus on women’s football, has been a great experience,” continued Toro. “This is one of the things that women’s football needs and what we try to encourage: a collective effort achieved by all stakeholders working together.”

Encouraging the backing of sponsors, generating more media coverage and increasing the availability of technological tools for the 16 clubs: all of these challenges facing women’s football in Ecuador in the short, medium and long term, will, without a doubt, be easier to tackle with club licences. “We are hopeful that the granting of a club licence will create organisational structures with a culture of constant support for women’s teams so that this sport can evolve from grassroots to the highest level, all with the aim of our country developing into a regional and global powerhouse,” concluded Poveda. During the seminar, the FEF also made available a report on the Superliga Femenina and its clubs. The report, which includes information on league and club sponsors, social media audience statistics, stadiums, milestones reached, television rights, and women’s club licensing requirements, can be found at this link.