Women's coaches present ideas to UEFA

Europe's leading women coaches have told UEFA that the fostering of young players and widespread promotion of women's football are among the key factors in the development of the women's game on this continent.

Europe's leading women coaches have told UEFA that the fostering of young players and widespread promotion of women's football are among the key factors in the development of the women's game on this continent.

Round-table meeting
The coaches, who led national teams at this summer’s UEFA European Women’s Championship final round in Germany, put their ideas on the current state of women’s football to European football’s governing body at a round-table meeting held at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

Title-winners in attendance
Among the coaches in attendance at the meeting were Tina Theune-Meyer, who took Germany to the 2001 European title, Marika Domanski-Lyfors, coach of European runners-up Sweden, Poul Højmose (Denmark), Carolina Morace (Italy), Hope Powell (England) and Yury Bystritskiy (Russia).

Key points
A list of key points for the women’s game were established. They included giving priority to the technical training of players to improve standards, the development of effective association structures and greater integration of the women’s coaching sector within the coach education programme for men.

International exposure
The coaches urged UEFA to consider the introduction of a European Championship at Under-17 level, as it was felt that such an event would give young players exposure to international competitions at an earlier stage. UEFA was also asked to name the host nations of major women’s European tournaments well in advance, to help the host associations not only to organise high-quality tournaments, but also to prepare effective promotional programmes.

Nurturing the grassroots
National associations were requested to pay attention to nurturing the grassroots of the women’s game as part of efforts to identify and foster talented young players, and also to achieve greater representation of women football officials in association bodies.

Club sections
Another idea put forward at the discussions involved the setting up of women’s football sections by major European clubs, which would give the women’s teams a ready-made high profile, as well as access to first-class facilities. The coaches reacted positively to proposals to introduce dope testing in women’s football, and called for longer rest periods between tournament matches.

Considerable potential
They agreed that the success of the last European Championship final round in Germany, which attracted considerable media and public interest, showed that women’s football was a marketable product with considerable potential for the future. 

International conferences
UEFA, they said, should stimulate women’s football by staging more international conferences and courses for women’s coaches, and by developing and expanding the newly-introduced women’s club competition, the UEFA Women’s Cup, to give the women’s sector increased impetus at club level.