UEFA has launched its first dedicated strategic plan for women’s football, with the main goal of doubling participation across member associations to 2.5 million.
Launched under the banner of ‘Time for Action’ the five-year strategic framework will run from 2019 to 2024, with the aim of supporting, guiding and lifting both women’s football and the position of women in football across Europe.
UEFA will invest in programmes and initiatives to support a balanced delivery of this plan from grassroots to elite levels. Along with boosting participation, the other key goals of the strategy include changing the perception of women’s football across Europe, and doubling the reach and value of the Women’s Euro and the Women's Champions League.
UEFA has also stated that by 2024 it hopes to improve player standards by reaching benchmark agreements for national team players and putting safeguarding policies in place in all 55 member associations. It will also seek to double female representation on all UEFA bodies.
This strategy and its goals, actions and outcomes have been drawn up with UEFA member associations, leagues, clubs, players and other stakeholders, who have all united to contribute to its development. It is closely connected to the overarching UEFA strategy, Together for the Future of Football 2019–24, which includes the further development of women’s football as one of its four strategic priorities.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “Women’s football is the football of today. It is not the football of tomorrow. It is UEFA’s duty as European football’s governing body to empower the women’s game. So UEFA will put significant financial investment into the sport – underlining that it dares to aim high and make European football as great as it can be. The actions that we propose and commit to in 2019 will lead to a greater, more professional and more prosperous game by 2024.”
Measures taken in the last three years include increasing UEFA’s funding to its women's football development programme by 50% as of 2020, launching the Together #WePlayStrong campaign, unbundling women’s football competition sponsorship to support revenue growth, and creating a specific women’s football unit.
Earlier this week, #WePlayStrong entered into a partnership with the World Freestyle Football Association to help celebrate its first-ever Women’s European Freestyle Championships. UEFA has also separated the venue of the Women’s Champions League final from the men’s event, in order to give the women’s final a platform of its own.
Nadine Kessler, UEFA’s Head of Women’s Football, said: “This strategy will champion, innovate and accelerate women’s football for all so that every women and girl can have a love and affinity for football whether as a player, coach, referee, administrator or fan.
“Every girl, regardless of talent, deserves a place to play football and the possibility to strive for the impossible without limitation. Women’s football is football, and football has a huge ability to impact beyond the field of play and break down cultural and social barriers. Therefore, Time for Action: UEFA Women’s Football Strategy 2019–24 has been drawn up to lead a step change for women’s football and women in football.”