September 6 – FIFA has hired Jill Ellis to lead a technical advisory group on the future of women’s football, the global governing body announced on Sunday.
From the PR department to senior positions, Zurich has been busy recruiting high-profile personnel in recent months with Ellis becoming the latest signing to reinforce the Swiss body.
The World Cup-winning coach, who led the United States to the world crown in both 2015 and 2019, will be tasked with exploring the future of the women’s game, talking to and consulting with stakeholders across the game to examine the international match calendar and the competitive balance.
In a statement, Ellis hinted that the biennial World Cup could be high on her agenda. FIFA is currently on a major PR push to drum up support for the idea in the men’s game, but, unsurprisingly, European governing body UEFA has expressed grave concern over the plan that would reshape the international match calendar in a drastic fashion.
She said that “Potential areas of discussion will include introducing more meaningful and regular competition at all levels globally, optimizing youth development structures, and improving coaching and education standards within the game. However, it is not an exhaustive list; everything is on the table.”
FIFA’s promotion for a biennial men’s World Cup – and biannual continental tournaments – would squeeze the calendar and deny the women’s game opportunities to gain the limelight and grow. A Women’s World Cup every two years would also clash with the Olympic women’s tournament, which is a senior tournament and highly coveted.
“I’m aware that there are ongoing conversations on the men’s side, but I think they’re probably looking at a lot of different things in terms of handling the landscape,” said Ellis in call with international media. “One of the things that I said to people is, ‘Listen, there can’t be a world championship, a major championship played on the women’s side on the same day as the men’s side.’ So just simple calendar alignment and working on it cooperatively so that both the women and the men, sports fans can stand tall. I think those types of things are important.”
“So that’s looking at the scope of the calendar. And within that, we’ll probably come the discussion on the frequency of world championships.”
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