Saturday 24 December 2022, 09:00

Women's Football in 2022: Special projects and unique experiences

  • 2022 saw various women’s football development programmes

  • Two major women’s football tournaments were also held

  • We spoke to those involved about the events and experiences of the year

2022 ended with a spectacular final at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, as Argentina were crowned champions. Women’s football also enjoyed a banner year, with two major youth tournaments held – the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup™ in India and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup™ in Costa Rica. The development of women’s football was also a priority throughout the year, in conjunction with the Vision 2020 – 2023 of the FIFA President. April saw the publication of the first ever Guide to Club Licencing in women’s football, followed by the launch of the second edition of the FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme in May and the release of the second study into elite women’s football in October, to name just a few of the projects.

Various personalities from women’s football spoke to us about FIFA’s development programme, as well as special events and unique experiences from the year. Here is a brief selection of what they had to say. And if 2022 taught us anything, it is that women’s football will again be front and centre on in 2023 – and not merely due to the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Australia and New Zealand!

"Of course there are still people who doubt that we can play football. But when a woman or a girl has an objective in life, they can achieve it and just forget about the people who don’t support others." Dona Rajab (Assistant Coach, Saudi Arabia)

"When it comes to leadership personalities, people often think of extroverted, loud leaders, but we know that’s not true. One of the things that definitely came across to me over and over again during the programme (Women in Football Leadership) was authenticity. You need to be true to who you are and make sure you’re doing everything in an authentic way, because people notice if you’re not! You can lead in all sorts of ways as long as you’re being true to yourself." Diana Matheson, former Canadian national player

"The menstrual hygiene project is a pilot project that FIFA was kind enough to bring to South Sudan. I believe it is the first of its kind. And yes, it is hugely important for us because if you look at the poverty line in a country like South Sudan, 80-82 per cent of the people in that country are below that line and live on two dollars a day. This project is really eye-opening and gives us a platform to create more ambassadors for the programme, but also to raise awareness of the problem that female athletes and women in general face in this country." Shilene Booysen, coach of the country's women’s national team

"Football is for everyone and gives everyone a chance to showcase their talent. It doesn’t matter where you come from, whether it’s a small country or a big one – everyone should have an equal chance to succeed. I think it’s an ideal situation in that respect." Angelina Chua, Seychelles National Coach

"It’s a historic journey for our country. We’ve never played two matches in two different countries in a FIFA window before. It enabled us to learn so much about the weather, the pitches, our game plan and everything we need to know for Australia & New Zealand. We’re so grateful to the Netherlands and Portugal for the opportunity." Amelia Valverde Villalobos, National Coach Costa Rica (Participant FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme)

"FIFA’s support is more than significant. The question is whether it would be possible to realise any of these projects without the help of football’s biggest institution. If FIFA continues to promote women’s football, then I’m sure the future will be bright. Girls in Serbia have already experienced this because they can now play football in smaller cities and villages, too. This is also impacting the senior game, because we now have a much larger base of players. And we’re just getting started..."

Bojana Veselinović, women’s national team manager and head of women’s football development in Serbia

Everything you need to know about FIFA's women's football development programmes

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.