Saturday 08 October 2022, 22:00

FIFA Women’s Football Strategy celebrates four-year anniversary

  • FIFA launched its first global strategy for women’s football four years ago

  • Growth of women’s football has accelerated worldwide since its implementation

  • Aim: 60 million female players by 2026

On 9 October 2018 the FIFA Women’s Football Strategy was established with the aim of charting the course for how FIFA would work alongside confederations, member associations, clubs, players, the media, fans and other stakeholders to maximise the potential of women’s football.

What has happened in the four years since the strategy for women’s football was introduced? In general terms, the growth of women’s football has accelerated across the globe. Despite the impact of COVID-19, FIFA successfully launched development programmes for women’s football. To date, 144 member associations have a strategy for women’s football, while 244 programmes have been carried out, benefitting 88 member associations. The positive upswing is also reflected in the current FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, where 185 nations were listed in the August 2022 edition – more than ever before. By way of contrast, 147 women’s national teams were ranked in September 2018.

The upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August, is venturing into new dimensions. It will be first tournament edition to have 32 participating teams jostling for supremacy across 64 matches, and also the first to be hosted by two member associations from two different confederations in the Asia-Pacific region. “The core purpose of the FIFA Women’s World Cup is to showcase women’s talent,” said Sarai Bareman, FIFA’s Chief Women’s Football Officer at the official launch of the emblem: “Everything we’re trying to achieve for women in football and women in society will be on display for the world to see in Australia and New Zealand. “It’s a movement and we want everyone to be part of it. You’re going to see an amazing display of the best athletes in the world, two beautiful countries, and two amazing cultures. It’s unique. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. Get behind it!”

Did you know?

  • In 2018, transfers involving female players were incorporated into FIFA’s International Transfer Matching System (ITMS). A total of 1,304 international transfers were recorded in women’s football in 2021, compared to 696 in 2018, an increase of 87 per cent.

  • The Women’s World Cup France 2019 reached more than one billion spectators in 205 countries worldwide. The final was the most-watched Women’s World Cup game ever with a global audience of 263.3 million people in front of their screens.

  • In June 2020 the FIFA Council unanimously approved the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan, which was developed by the FIFA administration in close cooperation with confederation representatives. As part of a USD 1.5 billion financial aid package, a grant of USD 500,000 was allocated specifically to women’s football. Of the 211 FIFA member associations, 199 applied for and used grants that came to a total of USD 99,500,000.

  • As part of its aim to accelerate the professionalisation and development of women’s football, FIFA published a first-ever Guide to Club Licensing in Women’s Football in 2022.

  • Four new teams have been added to the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking since June 2022. The August 2022 ranking set a new record with 185 FIFA member associations listed.

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.