Friday 18 August 2023, 10:00

Fatma Samoura: "This is only the beginning for women's football"

  • FIFA Secretary General spoke at the opening of the FIFA Women's Football Convention

  • Ms Samoura said the tournament's legacy will be felt long after the final ball is kicked

  • FIFA will continue to grow and development women's football

The FIFA Women's World Cup 2023™ will leave a long and lasting legacy that will be felt beyond the four lines of the pitch, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said as she addressed the Second FIFA Women's Football Convention in Sydney, Australia. Ms Samoura thanked Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand for uniting the world and said the tournament, which finishes on Sunday with the final between Spain and England, would go down in history as "the best, the most spectacular, the most colourful, the most inclusive and the best FIFA Women’s World Cup ever". She stated that the benefits of the tournament would be felt both in the two host nations and around the rest of the world long after the final ball was kicked. "As I saw during my 21 years working for the United Nations in Africa, football can indeed empower young people, particularly those from remote communities, so they can find their own voice, but more importantly, their own space," the FIFA Secretary General said.

Ms Samoura said she had been struck by her trips to remote communities in the two countries and remembered that the two legacy programmes – Legacy Start Now in New Zealand and Legacy 23 in Australia – both aim to increase participation among diverse communities. "I learned so many things during my trips in Darwin and Northern Territory, but also during my trip to The Treaty of Waitangi Grounds in New Zealand. And this enriching experience brought a fresh lens to the importance of the work we are all doing here," she said. "So, my plea continues, make sure that they find the right facilities that can cater (for all), including the needs (of) vulnerable people, remote people and also women and young girls.”

She added that FIFA's own efforts would not stop at the end of the tournament, saying: "Elsewhere, we will continue to grow and develop women's football. This is only the beginning." She said FIFA would continue to implement the FIFA Women's Football Strategy to grow and develop the game globally, with the aim of having 60 million female players by 2026. The FIFA Forward programme would support development, building facilities and funding competitions in all member associations. She also stressed the importance for all member associations of having an active women's national team as this would encourage activity at other levels, such as national leagues, local leagues and grassroots football. Ms Samoura concluded by talking about football's power to have a positive impact by amplifying messages about social issues such as gender equality, hunger, health and violence against women. "Football’s power goes far beyond the lines of the pitch and it is the responsibility of all of us to make the most of that power in a responsible way, to achieve a positive social impact," she concluded. "This tournament has truly taken women’s football beyond greatness, and I hope that these next two days can ensure that its legacy will live for a long time after Sunday night."