World governing body FIFA has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United Nations (UN) which aims to make football more accessible to women and girls.
Signed during the opening ceremony of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 – which is currently taking place in France – the MoU will provide a framework for strengthening and developing synergies between FIFA and the UN's Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).
Both organisations will work closely with public authorities, international organisations, the private sector, the media and sports organisations to make football more accessible to women and girls and to "disseminate diverse sports content" to promote gender equality.
Major sporting events will also be leveraged to deliver a legacy of positive change at social, political and economic levels.
According to FIFA, the ultimate aim is to challenge persistent forms of discrimination and stereotypes that hold back progress for all.
The MoU was signed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo‑Ngcuka.
“This is a significant moment for FIFA as we combine forces with UN Women to realise gender equality for women both on and off the pitch.” said Infantino.
“Together, we will raise awareness about women’s football and its impact in terms of health, empowerment and positive role models for women and girls around the world.”
Mlambo-Ngcuka added: “UN Women and FIFA are committed to levelling the playing field for women and girls, leveraging football’s mass appeal to bring positive change around the world.
"We're confident that this partnership will make a real difference to the gender inequality that we currently see in all sports, and that we are working to end throughout society, knowing that the benefits are for everyone."
The three key joint areas of work in the MoU are:
• Sports policy development
• The promotion and support of sustainable projects that will help create a lasting legacy, cultural change and empowerment of women and girls around the world
• Communications to raise awareness around gender equality through sport, for example through the support of the FIFA Legends and UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors, as well as major tournaments.
First published: www.sportparksleisure.com, written by Tom Walker, 11 June