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#WhatIf campaign grows, with new pledges in Europe

04 March 2020
Women in Football’s #WhatIf campaign is expanding and international football stakeholders are already signing up.

The group held it first event outside the U.K. as it continues to accelerate the opportunities for women in football through hundreds of pledges from businesses, clubs and fans.

And companies and associations from the Netherlands to Switzerland have started to make their own pledges.

Women in Football CEO Jane Purdon explained the campaign to FIFPRO, which hosted the event at our headquarters in Amsterdam.

“We exist to support, champion and celebrate women in the beautiful game,” Purdon, a former English Premier League lawyer, said. “We strive for a football industry that is genuinely diverse.

“The #WhatIf campaign asks the football industry to join us. We ask the question: what if we all did one thing to help change the landscape of women in the game?”

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Here are some of the pledges made at the event:

  • FIFPRO promised to continue supporting Women in Football. “We’re proud to have you here and we want to be a long-term partner,” General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said. “Campaigning for better conditions for women footballers has energized our player unions around the world.”
  • Switzerland’s Team Marketing promised to work with FC Lucerne to set up a course that trains women to become coaches
  • Dinamo Zagreb executive Amra Peternel, a board member of the European Club Association, said she would try to launch a management program for women at the organization which represents 246 clubs.
  • European Leagues, which represents 34 championships, said it would push to include women on its 12-man board. “Football is way too much male-dominated,” Managing Director Jacco Swaart said. “We need to implement the representation of women into licensing or quotas.”

“We are excited to be working with such a diverse and committed group of women and men”

— by Amanda Vandervort, FIFPRO Chief Women's Football Officer

Purdon said there had been some “wonderful commitments” from FIFPRO and other members of the football community, and she was excited to continue the #WhatIf campaign across Europe.

“We hope the European football industry will continue to join us and say: Yes, we’re on board.”

The day featured six brainstorming sessions that tackled questions including how to raise awareness about women’s football and how to provide better career pathways for women players.

Amanda Vandervort, FIFPRO’s Chief Women’s Football Officer, said she was impressed by the energy generated by more than 30 organizations at the event including Copa90, UEFA and the BBC.

“We are excited to be working with such a diverse and committed group of women and men,” Vandervort said. “As the title of our new women’s football report says, together we’re: Raising Our Game.”