Sunday 17 September 2023, 22:00

Valbona Gashi: "We want to make football the most popular and accessible sport"

  • Next month, the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) plans to launch a women's football strategy

  • FFK has been working with FIFA on development since October 2022

  • Recent FIFA workshop in Prîstina another important milestone

The extent to which women's football has developed positively in recent years was clearly demonstrated at this year's FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™. As many as eight debutants were among the 32 participating nations, numerous records were broken and the FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s pre-tournament prediction of ‘the best FIFA Women’s World Cup ever’ was indisputable. Women's football is booming! This is reflected in the fact that 88 percent of FIFA member associations have a women's football strategy, with another member, the Kosovan Football Federation (Federata e Futbollit e Kosovës (FFK), soon to be added to the list. “Following months of collaboration on a new Women’s Football Strategy with the FFK, a workshop was held In Pristina with key stakeholders to present the findings to date and get further input before finalising the Strategy,” explains Sue Ronan, FIFA's technical consultant for women's football. “In attendance were a mixture of Administrators, both club & national team players & coaches, representatives from local government and Olympic Committees, as well as staff from every department within the Federation. A productive day of discussion and brainstorming took place which ultimately defined and prioritised the short, medium- and long-term goals necessary to develop and grow women’s football in Kosovo.”

The FFK has been working with FIFA since October 2022 to develop the strategy Ronan mentioned, which will be launched with a big event next month. “Our collaboration with FIFA has been instrumental in creating the first ever women's football strategy,” said Sanije Krasniqi, head of coach education at FFK and head coach of Kosovo's U-17 team. “The recent workshop marked a significant milestone, bringing together not only our colleagues but also our valued stakeholders. This inclusive gathering encompassed both our trusted partners from the past, and those with whom we will forge ahead to further enrich the women's football landscape for all the talented women and girls in Kosovo in the future.”

During the workshop, the FFK presented its strategic vision and assigned each participant to a specific pillar based on their professional background and expertise. This approach allowed for extensive discussions and the introduction of new insights and suggestions.

“Our strategy focuses on making football the most popular and accessible sport for everyone. We aim to achieve this by promoting participation, technical development, and international competition,” explains Valbona Gashi, Head of Women's Football at FFK. “To increase participation, we need to address social barriers and change perceptions. Our goal is to enhance football education in schools, clubs, and further education institutions, collaborating with sports organizations and institutions. We appreciate FIFA's support and thank them for their contributions, especially our mentors Sue and Arbenita (Morina). Together, we can make this vision a reality.” Gashi's statements are in line with one of FIFA's key strategic objectives, in which all FIFA member associations have their own comprehensive women's football strategy. FIFA wants to grow women's football, get more girls involved earlier, keep more women in the sport longer and promote it even better, using football even more to support social causes.

Women's football in Kosovo is experiencing a remarkable surge in growth. With the development of a dedicated women's football strategy, we are poised to not only recognize this potential but also to nurture and guide it in the right direction.

Albina Rrahmani, Grassroots Manager and U-19 Head Coach
Women's football strategy

FIFA is working to empower girls and women, make football a sport for all and advocate against gender discrimination.

Enhance the Commercial Value

Shaping new revenue streams and optimising existing ones around the women’s game will allow expansion of development efforts.

Build the Foundations

Creating a more sophisticated women’s football ecosystem and encouraging leadership roles for women at every level will modernise management of the game.

Grow participation

Increasing the level of female participation in football all over the world, with the stated goal of having 60 million players by 2026.