World football’s governing body Fifa has said it will seek to use a record-breaking 2019 Women’s World Cup as a platform to inspire more young girls to take up the sport.
France will host next year’s tournament from June 7 to July 7, following on from Canada’s edition in 2015. “We had (a record) 750 million viewers around the world for Canada 2015 and we definitely think that next year has the potential to be even bigger,” Fifa’s chief women’s football officer Sarai Bareman told the Reuters news agency.
“Competitions are the perfect platform to increase awareness of our strategy and for sure the World Cup is our second biggest event and it can inspire and build that connection with what we are trying to achieve with this strategy. The World Cup is where we create those stories, those house hold names and they will be the ones who can drive participation.”
Fifa last week launched its first ever global strategy for women’s football which outlines how it will work with confederations and Member Associations (MAs) to grow the women’s game. The strategy document describes Fifa’s objective to increase the level of female participation in football across the world with the stated goal of having 60 million female players by 2026.
The relatively low-key announcement was met with criticism in certain quarters, but Bareman has defended Fifa’s approach. “From our perspective we wanted to present it to our member associations first,” she said.
“What’s important is our 211 member associations and that they got it first because the strategy is for them. We could have made a big presentation, a big splash, but it is about the members and we wanted to make sure they had it first, they could read through it and digest it before anyone else.”
Bareman added: “Part of the strategy is to work on the communication side and work with the media to get a better understanding of women’s football out there.”