FIFA has launched the first edition of the Female Leadership Development Programme – an initiative that will provide support to women across the globe who are looking to become future leaders in football.

The programme is part of FIFA’s commitment to its ten key development principles for women’s football and follows on from the inaugural FIFA Women’s Football and Leadership Conference held in March 2015, when experts from football, business and wider society discussed ways to improve the representation of women in leadership.

“The objective of the FIFA Female Leadership Development Programme is to increase the number of female leaders and role models in football,” said FIFA President Blatter. “It is crucial for the development of our sport to support the emerging generation of female leaders in football. We are also hoping to see more former players involved in leading roles.”

A total of 35 promising female leaders from around the world will get together for three workshops during the course of the programme, which will involve extensive fieldwork over a nine-month period, with each participant required to work on an individual project that has the potential to transform the state of girls’ and women’s football. Participants will also have the opportunity to be paired with an experienced mentor who will advise them on their leadership skills development.

“This programme will give 35 outstanding women the opportunity to fulfil their leadership potential in football,” said Moya Dodd, FIFA Executive Committee co-opted member and chair of FIFA’s Task Force for Women’s Football. “As reflected in FIFA’s ten key principles for women’s football development, improving the gender balance in football decision-making – including at executive committee level in all governing bodies – will enhance football governance and improve the game overall.”

The programme is being designed and delivered in partnership with the THNK School of Creative Leadership. The mission of THNK is twofold: to accelerate the development of leaders at the intersection of the corporate, private and social sectors, and to help create innovative solutions to societal challenges. To achieve this, THNK focuses on social impact, creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and collective initiative.

“THNK is excited to collaborate with FIFA to help build a generation of female leaders who will change the world of girls’ and women’s football as well as football at large, thereby making a positive contribution to societies across the globe,” said Natasha Bonnevalle, THNK Expert on Women’s Leadership.

The first module of the programme kicks off in Vancouver on 4 July, just prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ Final. The two subsequent modules for the 2015/16 edition will take place at the Home of FIFA in Zurich from 28 September to 2 October 2015 and from 29 February to 3 March 2016. The participants selected have all been involved in women’s football and have played a key role at the member associations or at FIFA itself. They represent a wide range of regions, backgrounds and organisations, thereby bringing together diverse and unique personal experiences.

The Female Leadership Development Programme is being organised as part of FIFA’s commitment to ensuring that female players, coaches, officials and administrators have a clear “pathway” through the game. This creates stability and improves professionalism in the game while offering those involved in women’s football a tangible career path. Pathways are crucial in attracting high-calibre candidates to all aspects of the game and encouraging participants to stay in the sport throughout their lives