Following an extensive two year consultation process the Irish FA have launched its Girls’ & Women’s Football Plan.
The plan which has already been positively endorsed by UEFA aims to put structures in place that will provide female players to qualify for a major tournament in the next 10-15 years.
Sara Booth, IFA Women’s Domestic Football Manager, discusses:
“We have worked hard over the last two years to produce this document and to ensure that it reflects the aspirations of schools, clubs (girls, boys, women’s and men’s), local councils, coaches, parents, volunteers, leagues and Divisional Associations.
“Now that the framework has been agreed and has been shared, we start the implementation process. The Irish FA has developed an operational plan that outlines all the key performance indicators that need to be achieved in order to effectively deliver the Girls’ & Women’s Football Plan.
“Over the course of the next four years we hope to alter the landscape of girls’ and women’s football by adopting a systematic, integrated approach that seeks to build participation.
“By increasing and sustaining the number of players, coaches, administrators, referees and volunteers within girls’ and women’s football and by enhancing governing structures we hope to develop a culture of lifelong participation.”
The launch event was attended by a number of high profile guests including local actress Tara Lynne O’Neill, Mayi Cruz Blanco, FIFA Senior Women’s Football Development Manager, Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive Officer of Sport NI, and 11 year old Joely Andrews, a young Glentoran player.
Welcoming the Irish FA Girls’ & Women’s Football Plan Mayi Cruz Blanco, FIFA Senior Women’s Football Development Manager said:
“We are excited to see the commitment of the Irish FA towards the development of Girls’ and Women’s Football. FIFA sees grassroots and leagues development as priorities for women’s football moving forward.
“In line with this, we fully support this new strategic plan and look forward to working with the Irish FA. In addition, we hope by awarding the Irish FA funding and support through the FIFA “Live Your Goals” campaign we will be able to support the association to engage more girls at club level and increase overall participation in the country”.
Encouraging females to get involved in football, Michael Boyd, Director of Football Development, Irish Football Association said:
“Developing the game and setting targets to increase girls and women’s participation at all levels is crucial for the Irish FA moving forward. We need more women in leadership roles, we need more girls playing and dreaming about football, we need more positive female role models visible in the media and we need more female volunteers developing the game!”
Sport Northern Ireland Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown welcomed the launch of the plan saying:
“Sport Northern Ireland is committed to striving to increase female participation in sport and physical activity and I am especially pleased that the IFA is working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Women’s Football Association to drive the success of the game.”