September 27, 2023

Tonga selected for FIFA’s women’s football pilot programme

FIFA launch new women’s programme in an attempt to increase participation and popularity by 2026.

FIFA launch new women’s programme in an attempt to increase participation and popularity by 2026.

FIFA and Tonga FA hope to see more girls play football in the coming years (Photo credit: Tonga Football Association)

Earlier this month FIFA launched their first global strategy for women’s football and has for the first time attempted to set a course for long-term planning of the women’s game.

FIFA’s goals include:

  • Double the number of female players to 60 million by 2026
  • Raise the standards of women’s football clubs and leagues across all member associations
  • Double the number of member associations that have organised youth leagues by 2026 in order to address the dropout rate and sustain girls’ participation in football
  • Ensure that by 2022, 100% of FIFA member associations have developed comprehensive women’s football strategies
  • Develop and implement a Football in Schools Programme
  • Foster greater cooperation, education and advocacy for women’s football between FIFA, the confederations and the member association

Now FIFA has set about implementing their pilot programme and this is where Tonga comes in.

The Pacific island nation has been selected alongside five other countries to be a part of the pilot programme before the plan is rolled out all around the world.

“A strong foundation”

FIFA’s Chief Women’s Football Officer, Sarai Bareman from New Zeland, told the Tonga FA website: “Tonga has a strong foundation favouring women’s football development and therefore has been identified as a high potential FIFA member in supporting this goal.”

FIFA will send a technical expert that will work closely with the Tonga FA. They will help the TFA design a “long-term programme in order to grow the participation of girls into football”. This will be what FIFA base their equipment and financial support on.

The programme looks set to be put in place first on the island of ‘Eua.

TFA General Secretary Lui ‘Aho said: “We are very grateful for this opportunity, and we already identified that ‘Eua will be the ideal place to kickstart this project.

“I would like to extend our sincere, gratitude and appreciation to FIFA especially the Women’s Football Department for their continued support. I can assure you that our women’s football division and technical department will co-operate with the FIFA expert to ensure this pilot project is successful.”

Previously Tonga has been a part of FIFA’s Live Your Goals project in 2016 that saw over 800 young girls participate and 40 women have benefitted from FIFA women’s coaching courses.


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