FIFA expects its first women’s tournament in the Middle East to raise participation in women’s football and to promote the rights of girls and women through sport across the region.
“The tournament will be a landmark for women’s football and in the region. It will be the ideal platform to highlight how football can contribute to change society and break barriers,” says Tatjana Haenni, FIFA Deputy Director and Head of Women’s Football. “The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2016 will inspire even more women and girls to play football in Jordan and the Middle East and consequently raise the level of the game.”
On 30 September 2016, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup kicks off in Amman, Jordan as the first FIFA women’s tournament to be hosted in the Middle East. The competition is one of a number of FIFA initiatives aimed at promoting and developing women’s football in the region.
“This World Cup will raise the profile of women’s football and women’s sports in general. It will send a message that will hopefully ripple across the region – one of girls’ and women’s empowerment and of using football as a platform for social change,” says Samar Nassar, the CEO of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Local Organising Committee.
Over the last decade, Jordan has worked hard to strengthen its women’s football structures, by encouraging young girls to play in one of the 15 grassroots centres spread across the country. The Jordanian Football Association has also developed youth and senior leagues for girls and women, paving the way for the hosting of the U-17 Women’s World Cup and further growth of women’s football in the region.
Across the 19 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, most of them predominantly Muslim, there are currently 13,890 registered female players – a number that has been mounting thanks to the constant investment in development activities. In 2015, FIFA organised a total of 27 events in the region. In November alone, for example, FIFA organised a coaching course in Cairo, Egypt, with 50 percent female participation; a goalkeeping course conducted by former Frankfurt and Dutch international Marleen Wissink in Tehran, Iran, and a Live Your Goals festival in Kerak, Jordan.
There is still a long way to go for women’s football in the region, but the seeds have clearly been sown. “To have young girls playing sports, and playing football specifically, can do so much to change attitudes and perceptions as to how society perceives girls and young women,” says Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan, an important voice in favour of women’s rights and gender equity. “If a Jordanian woman wants to play football, I say ‘go for it’. Because you are a role model for society, for changing traditional roles and challenging the negative perception regarding women. And football is the healthiest and the most inspiring way to do all this.”
Read the full story on FIFA.com, direct link below.
Note to broadcasters: a video news release, including footage and statements is available for editorial purposes, direct link below.
Pictures taken at the FIFA goalkeeping course held in Tehran from 21 to 25 November 2015 and at the FIFA Live Your Goals Festival held in Karak, Jordan on 28 November 2015 are available for editorial purposes. Direct links below.
Video news release with shot list
Full English article on FIFA.com
Full Arabic article on FIFA.com
Photo 1 for editorial use: FIFA Live Your Goals Festival in Karak (Jordan), 28 November 2015 (copyright: LOC FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016)
Photo 2 for editorial use: FIFA goalkeeping course in Tehran, 21 – 25 November 2015 (copyright: Amin Jamali – FIFA)