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UEFA-FIFA programme champions female leaders

The first UEFA-FIFA Women in Football Leadership Programme is under way, and is set to inspire a fresh cohort of female leaders.

Attendees for the UEFA-FIFA Women in Football Leadership Programme session in Nyon
Attendees for the UEFA-FIFA Women in Football Leadership Programme session in Nyon ©UEFA.com
WFLP participants Maika Fischer and Evia Kumrija
WFLP participants Maika Fischer and Evia Kumrija©UEFA.com

A UEFA-FIFA Women in Football Leadership Programme (WFLP) module took place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon from 3-7 December, with the course designed to inspire female leaders from all around the world.

A total of 30 participants traveled to Switzerland from as far away as New Zealand, Mexico and North Korea for the event, with Albania, Belarus and Liechtenstein among the European associations represented for the first time. The WFLP is being run jointly by UEFA and FIFA for the first time, with 140 women having taken part in the confederations' previous editions, many graduates moving up to senior positions in the game as a result.

The issues addressed included what it takes to be a good leader and female leaders' experiences in football. The week's activities included a panel discussion featuring UEFA Head of Women's Football Nadine Kessler and FIFA Chief Women's Football Officer Sarai Bareman. Moderated by Eleanor Tabi Haller-Jorden, president and CEO of The Paradigm Forum, that session included animated discussions on the topic of football leadership, personal leadership styles and what it means to be a female leader in a male-dominated world.

UEFA and FIFA hope the programme will continue to prepare women to assume leadership and decision-making roles in football. The WFLP also includes a one-year mentoring system, with participants embarking on a long-term development journey, learning from established figures in football.

Borghildur Sigurdardóttir, Football Association of Iceland financial committee head, and board member, said: "I want to see women play a more significant role in leading industries, in the corporate world and in sports management. Having been the first woman to chair an Icelandic Premier League club, I want to be a role model for other women and girls seeking a managerial career in the game."

Maika Fischer, Germany men's team administrator, added: "It's a great honour to be selected for the programme. It's always good to share stories and experiences with other women. You realise you're not the only one fighting for a certain cause. It's actually quite reassuring to know that you're not alone – you have others alongside you and behind you."