FIFAExecutiveCommittee(ExCo)haveagreed totheproposalthatallteamsplaying attheUnder-17Women’sWorldCupnextyear,inJordan,musthaveonefemalecoachandonefemalemedicamongtheirstaff.
The quota system now introduced comes after numbers revealed that only eight of the 24 countries competing at the senior World Cup in Canada this summer will be led by women. The measure sends a strong signal to member associations on FIFA work to promote women’s involvement in the game.
‘It’s time to look harder for the best candidate’
Fifa ExCo member Moya Dodd said: “Given the continuing low numbers of women coaches in FIFA international competitions, it’s time to look harder for the best candidates, starting with this challenge to find at least one woman to serve as one of the coaches at the most junior of FIFA women’s tournaments,”
Only seven per cent of registered football coaches globally are female but, as Dodd notes, women’s achievements are over-represented in the trophy cabinet – with the past three Olympic gold medals and two out of three of the most recent World Cups won by teams led by a female coach.
Dodd, the vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation, where an amendment to its ExCo composition saw the number of female members increase by 20% in January, expressed concern at the “unconscious bias” impacting on women who challenge the social norms, invoking the phrase “men take charge and women take care.”
“There are many high-quality women candidates to choose from,” Dodd said. “We continue to invest in training women coaches, and they are disproportionately successful when given top jobs, but most of the job market is virtually foreclosed to them because they aren’t considered to coach men’s teams. So, when we see such low numbers appearing as coaches even of junior women’s teams, then it’s clearly time to do more.”
‘It is our duty to drive this growth to its full potential’
The quota system was previously addressed at the FIFA first Women’s Football and Leadership Conference, ahead of the International Women’s Day, which concluded the system is needed to increase the number of women in leadership in football and that more must be done to keep women involved in the sport after they finish playing.
At the event, FIFA President Blatter told participants FIFA were eager to drive more growth in women’s football and that the obligatory positions for female representation were a necessary move because it was unlikely that the regional confederations were ready to choose a female representative from their own ranks to sit on the ExCo.
Blatter said: “More than 30 million girls and women play football around the world,”
“It is our duty to drive this growth to its full potential. It is our duty to make sure that there is equal opportunity for all across our member associations.”