The Royal Netherlands Football Association has followed Finland's lead in announcing that it will bid to stage the 2009 UEFA European Women's Championship finals.
Netherlands coach Vera Pauw, the first woman to gain the professional coaching licence in her homeland, was delighted with the news. "We can only look at the example set by England and the massive boost women's football received in that country," she said. "We'd hope to reap the same benefits in the Netherlands.
"England has made huge progress by organising the European Championship last summer. Although they did not have to play qualification matches, they made a real jump forward. The organisation became more professional, which allowed the players to develop more and more; some are now among the top internationals. More money also became available which allowed them to draw attention to the game more."
Dutch women's football already profits from a thriving domestic system and infrastructure. Girls can play mixed football with boys until the age of 19 and the number of young females in clubs at all levels is growing.
Decision in 2006
UEFA will send out bid requirements, including details on the financial provisions, next week, with associations then having until 24 February 2006 to submit their bid documents. Site visits will be made in March and April, with the EXCO committee announcing the winning bid in mid-July.
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