June 17, 2024

Raising the bar: The UEFA Women's European Championship Final Forum in London sets standards for future success |  UEFA

Raising the bar: The UEFA Women’s European Championship Final Forum in London sets standards for future success | UEFA

Hundreds of guests attended a prestigious event ahead of the FIFA Women’s European Championship 2022 final on Sunday.

Football leaders, former players, sponsors and women’s football experts were guests of this unique UEFA event, which focused on the future of women’s football in Europe and beyond; Member Associations are encouraged to build on the progress already made and work together to take women’s football to a new level.

In addition to a number of well-known personalities, UEFA presidents also spoke Alexander Severin President of Women’s Football at UEFA, Nadine Kesslerbased on last month’s tally and benchmarks set for continued success.

“It was and still is an impressive tournament,” said Alexander Shifrin. “The expectations were high, but honestly the numbers exceeded our expectations, even if they weren’t the only criterion. The matches were great and the technical skills were incredible. There was a lot of hard work and dedication behind this tournament and we just had to believe in it. The most important thing is to believe in what you are doing. We knew from the start that we could raise standards significantly.”

Looking ahead, Schwerin called for more support for women’s football to take it to a new level.

“Women’s football must continue to evolve in the same way as men’s football,” said Shiffrin. We have to develop it further on a technical level and make the appropriate investments. It boils down to the same thing. Some players – sponsors, broadcasters and everyone else – must finally realize that the investment in women’s football is worth it.”

Alexander Severin.

Aleksander Ceferin also commended the work of Nadine Kesler and the UEFA team in advancing women’s football and contributing to the success of the UEFA Women’s European Championship. In 2013, Kesler became European champion with the German national team and admits that life as a player is less complicated.

“I have to admit that at times it felt easier on a playing level than on an organizational level,” Kessler said with a laugh. “It was crazy! We are incredibly happy, mainly because we saw great football from the first game to the last, which got people really excited. The main thing we take away at the European level is that it will be better for everyone. When it comes to the position. And the approach to women’s football, no one needs to be persuaded anymore.”

Nadine Kessler.

Nadine Kessler.

Use great successes

The event took place before the climax of the UEFA Women’s European Championship, which has already broken many records.

The 30 games leading up to the final set a number of attendance and ticket records; The crowded Wembley Stadium was expected for the final and hundreds of thousands of fans attended fan parties in host cities in England, while millions of people around the world watched the event on television.

However, as the name suggests, this forum was not to celebrate what had already been achieved – it was to acknowledge what remains to be achieved in the development and evolution of women’s football.

UEFA Women’s European Cup 2022: A story of its own

But as the forum title, ‘Raising the Bar’ suggests, the goal was not just to celebrate what has been achieved, but to learn about what remains to be done as women’s football advances in the future.

Baroness Sue CampbellFA, Director of Women’s Football, explained how the FA aims to inspire a generation of young girls to play football:

“The power of football is enormous when it comes to addressing some of the inequalities that have been around for a long time in some societies. Football is changing attitudes towards girls and women in society, not just in football. The societal purpose of what we have been trying to do here. In England it is just as important as the sporting team’s goal of winning. I believe that through the way we apply football both locally and internationally, we can improve the lives of girls and women in the community.”

Rizvan BurlianoThe president of the Romanian Football Federation has provided an insight into women’s football in his country in recent years.

Nine years ago, there were only 300 girls playing football in Romania. Now the number has exceeded 60,000. Vision is very important and what UEFA has done strategically to promote women’s football is exactly the way we need to go in a country like Romania. Girls in Romania are excited about what’s happening in England this month. This is the most important thing for us. It was a really inspiring tournament.”

Liz ClavinsThe president of the Norwegian Football Association has spoken enthusiastically about the importance of increasing women’s representation in football.

“It is very important to lead in a principled and ethical way when you have a vision of complete equality,” Clavins said. “It shouldn’t be that daughters and sons are treated differently. We must take that approach in all decisions. I would like to congratulate UEFA for the great work they have done over the past 10 years, but now we need to do more – we must be encouraged. On expanding grassroots football activities for women and girls. Everyone else just has to go along with it. Obviously I am focused on doing that in Norway and helping other countries do the same.”

Impact, innovations and insights

Four speakers also spoke, covering a variety of football-related topics, with host, sports presenter and journalist Jackie Utley.

Dreamer: Sonia Bombastor

Sonia Bombastor is the first woman to win the Women’s Champions League as a player and coach after leading Olympique Lyonnais to her title in her first season on the touchline last year. During her football career, she won this title twice with Olympique Lyon and underwent more than 150 international matches with France. As a mother of four, she explains how her club supports its players and staff.

“We have two players on the team who have a baby. It’s not easy for them because the body is changing, but the most important thing is that they feel the club is there for them. In 2022, women no longer have to choose between their private and professional lives. You have to make a decision and be Able to expect the club to provide the support you need and make everything as easy as possible. [Vereinspräsident] Jean-Michel Aulas asked me what I needed to do both and gave us financial support to organize proper childcare. I told myself I had to do my best to show him that it was working and that it was worth it.”

Sonia Bombastor.

Sonia Bombastor.

Creator: Kara Nortman

Kara Nortman is the co-founder of Angel City, the first majority-female professional club in the United States. She is a managing partner at Upfront Ventures, a company that helps other companies grow businesses and people. She is also a founding member of All Raise, a movement that promotes diversity in start-up businesses and finance.

“When we thought about creating this club, we tried to show what is possible in women’s football. Anything is possible if you ask me – it is about designing the world we want to live in. Now girls and boys can dream of becoming professional athletes. People constantly ask me why I started Angel City. There are three reasons: First, I wanted to show that the best female soccer players in the world should earn enough money to earn a living. Second, I wanted to show that we could fill stadiums. Everyone said it was impossible. But it could be done, And it can be just as entertaining as any other sport in the world. Third, I wanted to show that we can generate revenue and be as valuable as Liverpool FC or the Dallas Cowboys. I’m convinced that’s true.”

Kara Norman.

Kara Norman.

Influencer: Alex Scott

Alex Scott made 140 caps for England before retiring in 2017; She scored the decisive goal in Arsenal Women’s against Sweden’s Umeå in the 2007 UEFA Women’s Cup. Since then, she has become one of the most recognizable faces on British television, appearing as a presenter and expert and campaigning against cyberbullying. I talked about creating opportunities so that as many people as possible can enjoy football.

“When I look at the word ‘diversity’, it is about opportunities for everyone. A girl, regardless of her background or ethnicity, should have the opportunity or dream of becoming a presenter, coach or player on the national team. Everyone should be able to dream. That’s how it all started for me. I really hoped and dreamed of playing at Wembley one day. And now it’s come true.

It’s about this change – there are girls-only tracks and tournaments. You don’t just play because your older brother is playing. You play because you enjoy football and you see the opportunities.”

Alex Scott (right) in conversation with Jackie Utley.

Alex Scott (right) in conversation with Jackie Utley.

Inspiring Tania Joseph

Journalist and former speaker Tanya Joseph is the founder of the multi-award winning British campaign This Girl Can, which has inspired 2.8 million women in the UK to get active and exercise regularly. She talked about connecting with women and making sure they feel comfortable exercising.

“One shouldn’t be afraid of comments. You’re not alone. All women are different and have different abilities. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing something well or not. It’s about being a woman and being confident in yourself.”

Tania Josep

Tania Josep

As the curtain closes on the 2022 FIFA Women’s European Championship, new doors are opening for women’s football in Europe. This amazing tournament is just the beginning.

All speeches and the full discussion session will be available on the official UEFA YouTube channel in the coming days.

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