UEFA has announced it will increase the amount of funding it supplies towards women’s soccer in a bid to continue its rise in popularity.
UEFA has committed to a 50 per cent increase in financial backing through its Women’s Football Development Programme (WFDP) – rising to a total of €150,000 (£131,000/$173,000) per year to each of its 55 member associations from 2020.
The WFDP forms part of the UEFA HatTrick programme, which has been funded by revenues from European Championship competitions since 2004, allowing projects to be invested in from elite to grassroots levels of the game.
UEFA's pledge comes in support of the #WhatIf campaign, an initiative launched five months ago by the organisation Women in Football, which strives to change attitudes towards women working in football.
Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA President, said: “The potential for women's football is limitless and it is with this in mind Uefa has taken the step to increase the funding available to the national associations to help improve the women's game across the continent.”
Head of Women’s Soccer at UEFA, Nadine Kessler, added: “The pace of this sport's growth is impressive, and our increasing investments clearly show how dedicated we are to accelerating this pace. We are getting ready to take on the next challenges and reach new heights.”
Women’s soccer’s popularity is on the rise, with UEFA's 2017 European Championship tournament bringing in a worldwide audience of 178 million viewers, as well as record attendance figures of over 240,000.