FIFA has announced that it is to double its development funding for women’s football over its next four-year cycle, culminating with the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
World football’s governing body has earmarked $21 million (£13 million/€16 million) for this purpose in 2015-2018, up from just under $10.3 million (£6.3 million/€7.9 million) in 2011-2014.
The figure represents less than 2.5 per cent of FIFA’s overall $900 million (£554 million/€694 million) development budget for the period.
However, the organisation points out that the women’s game also benefits from other FIFA initiatives, such as the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) and the Goal programme.
The disclosure comes less than three months after FIFA stipulated that at least 15 per cent of a $750,000 (£441,000/€552,000) bonus promised to all member associations in June by President Sepp Blatter, who confirmed this week he will stand next year for re-election, must be used for women’s football.
One-third of the bonus was set to be paid out at once, triggering what should have amounted to a near immediate injection of at least $7.8 million (£4.8 million/€5.8 million) into the women’s game.
FIFA’s overall $900 million (£554 million/€694 million) development budget for 2015-2018 is up just 12.5 per cent from the $800 million (£492 million/€617 million)originally budgeted for 2011-2014 – far less than the 55.5 per cent cycle-on-cycle increase in the budget for the World Cup itself and the huge 69 per cent jump for “operational expenses and services”.
FIFA has produced guidelines to help member associations to apply for and benefit from its women’s football development programmes.
These focus on four main areas – competitions, management, education and promotion.
Next year is World Cup year for the women’s game, with the tournament set to be held in Canada, bronze medallists at the London 2012 Olympic women’s football tournament, in June and July.
This article first appeared in Inside the Games and has been reproduced with permission. The original article can be viewed by clicking here.