FIFA member-associations and confederations must utilise the federation’s support to assist women football clubs and leagues in their domain, the President of the sport’s world governing body, Sepp Blatter, has said.
Blatter, who said this while speaking on the International Women’s Day celebrated annually on March 8, said this was important because women had been an inspiration to the sport, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
“It is vital to establish women’s football at club level, because clubs provide football’s foundation.
“If you take Africa for example, there is a lack of women’s clubs and leagues, which means that there is a lack of competition, and you need competition to improve your level of play.
“It is therefore important for member-associations and confederations to use the support we provide to assist clubs and leagues,’’ he said.
Blatter made the assertion in an interview he had with fifa.com, the official website of FIFA.
He said that FIFA’s programmes covered all areas of football development such as competitions, management, education and promotion and were available to all member-associations.
Blatter added that this was why the member-associations had to spend at least 15 per cent of their financial assistance from FIFA on women’s football.
“In this regard, it is important for member-associations to embrace this regulation and use it to employ dedicated staff to take the game forward in their countries.
“The great strides some countries have made in recent years serve as an excellent example for others to follow,” he said.
Blatter said it was also important for men’s football clubs to show solidarity with the women’s game by supporting women’s teams and allowing them to share their technical facilities and staff.
“This will be like it is being done at European clubs like Lyon, Arsenal and Wolfsburg. In fact, some of the best European clubs are women-only,” the FIFA president said.
He said the proper establishment of club level football for women was essential for a solid foundation for the game and its development.
Blatter said football had played an important role in women’s emancipation and it was an opportunity to be seized by all, especially African countries.
“Sports and football in particular, have played an important role in the emancipation of women right from the very beginning and continue to do so today.
“In this sense, women’s football has a stronger social dimension than the men’s game and women players and fans relate to the game differently,” he said.
The FIFA president was, however, quick to point out that this did not diminish the women’s football as a purely sporting contest, saying that “on the contrary, it enhances it.”
The International Women’s Day is celebrated annually with thousands of events not just on March 8 but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
‘Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures’ is the 2012 theme of the IWD website, internationalwomensday.com. The slogan has been widely used by hundreds of organisations, including schools, universities, governments, women’s groups and the private sector.
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