Op-ed: Breaking New Ground (BNG) bid puts accelerating women’s empowerment at heart of 2027 campaign

March 8 marks International Women’s Day – a day of global celebration of women’s social, economic, political and cultural achievements. It offers an important reminder of the significant and leading contribution of women in these areas and of course to all facets of society more generally.

But it also acts as a stark reminder that female empowerment and recognition of their contributions are not to be taken for granted as too often they fail to be given status equivalent to male achievements. Humanity suffers and remains unfulfilled when women are not fully and appropriately recognised for their contributions.

As nations, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany have long been strong advocates in championing greater diversity and have led the way in ensuring that women are afforded the recognition their contributions merit. They have done so by seeking to put them on an equal footing with men across all levels of society. Our BNG bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027ä fits fully into this vision.

The campaign theme for the 2024 edition of the International Women’s Day is “inspire inclusion”. Two words of great power and, when brought together, offer significant meaning. The world is a better place when we inspire others to appreciate the value of women’s inclusion.

There are few activities which offer a platform to champion this concept more than sport, and in particular football which sits comfortably as the world’s most popular one. As a driver of significant social impact football has the means to provide life and turn words on paper to meaningful deeds.

Our primary responsibility as federations is to develop the game in our respective countries from starting at the grassroot right through to the elite level.  In combining our joint forces in bidding for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027ä we seek to support FIFA in its efforts to pursue this aim for women’s football globally. But beyond inspiring a new generation of female players and fans to take up or follow the game, we also appreciate the role football can play in contributing to social growth through the values that define it.

In that sense, a successful World Cup can help change attitudes championing and widening the cause for women’s rights. All of this lies at the heart of the BNG bid which has been designed around a carefully considered vision aimed at supporting female empowerment.

But how might a successful BNG bid put all these aspirations into practice you may ask? Well let us enlighten you.

Over a number of weeks in the summer of 2027 the world’s focus will turn to watching the very best female players compete against one another for football’s ultimate prize. The visibility will highlight and showcase women’s sporting excellence and help inspire girls the world over to take up the game.

Our commitment at BNG is to offer an environment in which the world’s best female players can perform at their maximum level. Beyond the field our aim is also to encourage women who may not play football but as fans have a deep affection and attachment to the game to follow their hearts and pursue a career in football administration.

This aligns with our belief that enhanced gender diversity is needed at all levels of the game as a means for it to fulfill its true potential. Furthermore, we are confident that a successful BNG bid will generate record breaking revenue through broadcasting and sponsorship deals that FIFA will use to distribute to Member Associations across the world to support them in their efforts to further develop the women’s game at domestic level.

The visibility afforded by a FIFA World Cup is unparalleled. We believe that offering a logistical environment of excellence will provide the backdrop to profiling women at their sporting best in a manner that will support efforts in enhancing attitudes favorable to women empowerment.

On 17th May, FIFA’s 211 Member Associations will meet in Bangkok at FIFA’s annual Congress to pick a host for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027™. In the weeks ahead, leading up to the vote we will continue to engage with our fellow Member Associations from across global football as we seek to convince them of the merits of the BNG bid.

In seeking their support, we hope to have them join us in turning the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027™ into a catalyst in further driving efforts to recognize the leading role and contribution women make to the continued development of humanity.

By backing a BNG bid, Member Associations will be positioning themselves as active partners in an event whose legacy will be unparalleled in providing true meaning to the concept of “inspire inclusion”. Football has the power to change the world and BNG aims to do just that in furthering female empowerment!

Pascale Van Damme, RBFA President

Just Spee, KNVB President

Bernd Neuendorf, DFB President