This past September FIFA held its first ever Football Conference to analyze the women’s game in particular this past World Cup in France. It is historic because it shows that people are paying attention, that the women’s game is taking on a massive and accelerated steps forward in terms of viewership and public interest yet lacking the necessary support from the media and private and public enterprise. The event was held in Milan Italy and attended by members of 150 associations with all 6 confederations and its representatives of women’s football.
The conference’s focus is the past World Cup in France from a technical, tactical and physical aspect, along with a comparison and study between the past world cups and the report from the Technical Study Group created after the tournament in France wrapped up. It also had some discussion panels discussing the progress so far on the game and what still needs to be done to improve the game for women on all levels, socially and athletically speaking.
Some key points announced by the FIFA president Gianni Infantino during the conference was 5 proposals to advance women’s football. The proposals are having 32 teams instead of 24 in the next world cup, a women’s club world cup, a nations league, a 1 billion US investment in the next four years and more marketing.
Another announcement of great importance was that as of the next round of world cup qualifiers in Iran women will be allowed to attend men’s matches. This after FIFA expressed great concern following the death of a young woman Sahar Khodayari who set herself on fire after being arrested for trying to enter a stadium to watch a game in Tehran. FIFA has announced that they have been given assurance that women will be allowed to attend games.
No doubt the last world cup saw great improvement for the game and for women in terms of quality, performance, and exposure and with this conference the potential to take it to a higher level is just a matter of time and resources.