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UEFA 'Free-Kicks' scheme launched

Georgia and Lithuania have been visited by UEFA and women's football experts to help the two associations move forward with their overall domestic women's football development.

Dila Gori - the girls' football school founded in the Georgian regional federation of Shifa Kartl
Dila Gori - the girls' football school founded in the Georgian regional federation of Shifa Kartl ©GFF

UEFA has launched its 'Free-Kicks' initiative, in which it is offering Europe's national associations specific knowledge-sharing opportunities, practical courses and advisory programmes as part of the UEFA Women's Football Development programme (WFDP).

Visits have recently been made by UEFA women's football representatives to Georgia and Lithuania to help the two associations profit from expertise in their efforts to nurture women’s football at all levels.

The 'Free-Kicks' project offers know-how to the associations in six key areas – on-field and off-field development, knowledge-sharing between national associations, promotion, coaching and refereeing. Support is being tailored to each association's individual needs.

Dutch women’s football development expert Priscilla Janssens accompanied the UEFA party to Georgia, where talks were held with the association’s president Levan Kobiashvili and general secretary David Mujiri. The Georgian Football Federation (GFF) is being asked to set targets and prepare a strategy plan for women’s football development.

The English Football Association's (FA) national development manager for women's football, Rachel Pavlou, travelled with UEFA's team to Lithuania to contribute expert advice to discussions on domestic women's national league structures, as well as on establishing an elite player pathway ahead of the European Women's Under-17 Championship finals, which the Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) will host in 2018.

How the associations view UEFA’s 'Free-Kicks' help
"In Georgia, we see a great opportunity to grow participation and develop women’s football – this is a challenge I want to take head-on. Having the support from UEFA is very important to help us prepare a development strategy with ambitious, but achievable goals."
Levan Kobiashvili, Georgian Football Federation (GFF) president

"The opportunity to sit down and have an internal strategy meeting led by UEFA experts has truly helped us in terms of mapping out where we want women’s football to be in the years to come – more importantly, determining how and what we need to do in order to get there and achieve our goals."
Edvinas Eimontas, Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) general secretary