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UEFA's commitment to women's leadership

The UEFA Women in Football Leadership Programme has been showcasing UEFA's continued commitment to increase female representation from the pitch to the boardroom.

Meet the mentors of the UEFA Women in Football Leadership programme
Meet the mentors of the UEFA Women in Football Leadership programme

The UEFA Women in Football Leadership Programme, hosting its third edition this week, is offering participants a wide variety of tools, giving them a platform to succeed.

An important feature of the programme is the one-year mentoring scheme that follows the week at UEFA. Some previous participants have now assumed the role of mentor and hope to have a positive impact on this year's intake.

One of these women, Jane Purdon, head of governance at UK Sports, emphasises the importance of female mentors: "It's great that UEFA is asking women to become mentors because we can show the next generation of women coming through that it is possible to get there, to achieve and obtain a leadership role in football and in sport."

Sara O'Shea, deputy CEO and legal director at the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) is another former participant who has taken on a mentoring role. She praises UEFA's continued investment in the programme. "It shows UEFA as a leader in the area," she said.

"It shows that UEFA has acknowledged that there is a difficulty with finding women and promoting women within football, and that they're prepared to put resources into place and spend money on the programme; and that has to be of benefit to other sports looking in."

The UEFA Women in Football Leadership Programme also gives the football community the incentive "to identify women and to put them forward for these [leadership] positions" according to Joyce Cook, managing director at the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE). She, too, has followed the path from participant to mentor.


Among the seminar's numerous activities, this week's participants also had the opportunity to interact with three keynote speakers during a panel session. Former world fencing champion Claudia Bokel, now representing the International Olympic Committee (IOC), spoke about how her experience as a top athlete has helped her career.

Florence Lombardo, investment strategist at Credit Suisse, explained how female senior managers make a difference in their companies and Raphael Crowe, senior gender specialist at the International Labour Organisation, encouraged UEFA to be a champion of change.

Hear the mentors' thoughts on the programme by clicking on the video player