Thursday 25 August 2022, 17:15

FIFA and FENIFUT commit to ‘Football for All’ in Nicaragua

  • Nicaraguan Football Association are utilising FIFA's Women’s Development programmes to grow the women's game

  • Football festivals are encouraging more young girls to play football

  • Plans are now being developed for a new youth league competition

Women’s football has been in the spotlight around the world in recent weeks. No fewer than five major tournaments have been held, attracting the attention of the broader public to the women’s game. While there are plenty of newly crowned champions, FIFA member associations around the world are drawing on the support of FIFA's Women’s Football Development Programme to take the game to the next level both on and off the pitch. The Nicaraguan football association (FENIFUT) is working together with FIFA on a campaign to encourage more girls and women to get involved in football. It is designed to appeal to younger players and has already included a successful women's and children’s festival of football held in Bluefields.

"Festivals like these are part of the FIFA women’s football department programmes, and they are designed to support the initiatives in our country to create safe and suitable spaces for the implementation of football," explains Dalila Lopez, head of the FENIFUT women’s football department. "It also enables male and female coaches to get training and insights into the right ways of working with particular age groups. It means football for all.” The aim is to generate interest both for football in general and also for an U-13 competition, which FENIFUT is launching at the end of the campaign. The event is set to be held over a period of three months and across five different locations. Once the local sections of the competition have finished, the top two teams from each region will head to Managua, the capital of the Central American country, for the national finals.

The new U-13 competition is also being supported by FIFA's Women’s Football Division within the scope of the League Development programme, which focuses on one of FIFA’s main priorities, namely the long-term increase of girls’ and women’s participation in football. The programme focuses on supporting FIFA member associations by implementing new competitions and strengthening existing ones, as well as developing coaching skills to create a solid and structured environment for female players to develop.

As well as the two afore-mentioned programmes, there was also a focus at the beginning of the year to build the capacity of women's football administrators in Nicaragua. The aim of this particular initiative is to provide people local support in terms of the knowledge and training they require to grow the women's game in their country. The main themes that were addressed during the workshop include leadership, communications, marketing and administration. Nicaragua is proving to be a perfect illustration of how the FIFA Women’s Football Development Programme can work together hand in hand to accelerate the growth of women's football.

Images courtesy of FENIFUT

Did you know?

FIFA's Women’s Development Programme aims to provide all 211 member associations with the opportunity to apply for, and access additional resources and specialist expertise to develop women’s football at a national level. Member associations can apply for support across eight key areas of women’s football development during the 2020-2023 period. In addition to financial assistance to cover the costs in selected programmes, the FIFA Women’s Development Programme will also provide access to women’s football experts, additional equipment and technical support within FIFA.

Key objectives

FIFA will achieve its objectives by executing a five-pronged strategy to:

Govern & lead … strive for gender balance

Every MA will have one spot on its Executive Committee dedicated to the interests of women and by 2026 have at least one woman seated, while by 2022, at least one-third of FIFA committee members will be women. Strengthen and expand the Female Leadership Development Programme and improve professionalisation and regulatory oversight.

Educate and empower

Address and bring focus to specific social and health issues and reach out to NGOs and government stakeholders to develop sustainable projects that improve the lives of women.

Develop and grow … on and off the pitch

By 2022, have women’s football strategies in 100% of member associations, and by 2026, double the number of MAs with organised youth leagues. Expand football in school programmes, create elite academies and increase the number of qualified coaches and referees, vastly improving access to the game for girls.

Showcase the game … improve women’s competitions

Optimise regional qualifying for FIFA competitions and develop those events to build top-level players at a young age. Advance and launch new international competitions and improve the professional club framework.

Communicate & commercialise … broaden exposure & value

Advance awareness of top female athletes and raise the profile of women’s football by enhancing engagement, harnessing technology, implementing a distinct brand strategy and using role models and ambassadors as well as a dedicated Women’s Legends Programme. By 2026, launch a Women’s Football Commercial Programme.