The UEFA Football Board met at the House of European Football in Nyon on Monday to engage in constructive discussions on a variety of topics related to women’s football, ranging from strategy and refereeing to the match calendar, competitions and player welfare.
The meeting kicked off with a presentation about UEFA’s women’s football activities and initiatives highlighted by attendance records broken across the continent by clubs and national teams as well as the increased investments made in Europe over the past seasons.
The Board then discussed the post-24 UEFA Women’s Football Strategy where it was recommended to increase initiatives encouraging greater representation in leadership positions within football, new competition opportunities, player protection, improved academy structures as well as increased support for small and medium-sized national associations.
The Board also discussed refereeing matters such as VAR, handball offences, player and coach behaviour and the new UEFA “Be a Referee!” campaign followed by competitions and match calendar matters. The Board conveyed the need for greater consideration of players needs and open dialogue on the match calendar, competition scheduling and calculation of stoppage time, which adds additional burden to an already heavy workload on the players. The Board also expressed their appreciation and satisfaction with the new UEFA women’s national team competition system and provided feedback on the current state and the evolution of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
The meeting concluded with medical discussions focused on the effects of the menstrual cycle on player performance and recovery, head injury prevention and education as well as on anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention and treatment.
The meeting was attended by Verónica Boquete, Marissa Callaghan, Karen Carney, Jovana Damnjanović, Jonas Eidevall, Magdalena Eriksson, Laura Georges, Gemma Grainger, Ada Hegerberg, Pernille Harder, Josephine Henning, Eugénie Le Sommer, Carolina Morace, Francisco Neto, Alexia Putellas, Lotta Schelin, Viktoria Schnaderbeck, Tessa Wullaert and Leah Williamson.
Nadine Kessler, UEFA Managing Director of Women’s Football, said: “Bringing together some of the greats of our game to discuss the successes, challenges and opportunities facing our sport was a necessary step. We listened to them carefully. And I truly loved the open spirit and constructive debate. Their ideas, without any doubt, will lead to an even better European football landscape. I want to thank them all for their time."
Verónica Boquete said: “This is a group with expertise, they really know our competitions, our problems, our weaknesses and our strengths so it’s great to be able to share in that. We want to help be part of the improvement of the system and the organisation and bring new ideas. I already think UEFA is doing a great job but if I can do something to help that is great.”
Karen Carney said: “Everything is moving really fast but we have to build the sport on a solid foundation. Today has been getting people together to understand that there are so many countries and everyone is at different parts in their evolution of women’s football, so to understand and hear everyone’s side is really important because we all want the same thing.”