FIFPRO member unions, current and former players, industry stakeholders, and more gathered in London on Monday 25th July for Raising Our Game – an event which discussed current topics and future developments facing the women’s professional game.
In an action-packed month of women’s international football, which saw five continental tournaments get under way, the player-focused industry forum was held to offer expert insight and engaging dialogue on a plethora of issues surrounding women’s football.
Set against the backdrop of the UEFA Women’s EURO, the event was organised by the PFA in collaboration with the FIFPRO.
The PFA's Director of Women's Football, Marie-Christine Bouchier said: "It’s great to have so many inspirational colleagues, and other people I’ve not met, in the same room – to learn about their experiences, and hear what they have to say."
FIFPRO Director of Global Policy & Strategic Relations for Women's Football, Sarah Gregorius said: "It’s important that we bring together, not just the PFA in England as the host union, but other stakeholders in and around the game as well.
"Collaboration and good spirit leads to innovation – and that’s really what our sport needs: an opportunity to learn and innovate for the future, because the potential is there. It’ll only be realised if we come together around a shared vision for the future of the game."
FIFPRO President, David Aganzo, added: "Women’s football is constantly evolving and at FIFPRO, we are committed to growing the game.
"The voice of the players is everything to us. It is the players who drive the conversation. We respect FIFA, UEFA, leagues, clubs and national teams, but they all know that the voice of the players is the most important."
Raising Our Game: The Panels
Professionalisation: Progress, Sustainability and Player-Centricity
In a panel moderated by FIFPRO General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, Marie-Christine Bouchier (PFA), Brooke Chaplen (Reading) and Miles Jacobson (Sports Interactive) discussed the increasing growth and varying degrees of professionalisation in women’s football, as well as commercialisation, investment, media and more.
National Team Competitions: Past, Present, Future
Omar Chaudhuri (Twenty First Group), Camila Garcia (FIFPRO/ANJUFF), Sarah Gregorius (FIFPRO) and Louise Quinn (Birmingham City/Republic of Ireland) provided insight into the evolution of women's competitions, as well as the balance between club and national team football.
Intersectionality: Anti-Discrimination, Activism and Allyship
With player activism on the rise, Terry Angus (PFA), Hayley Bennett (Women in Football), Leon Mann (Refresh Sports Consultancy) and Karin Sendel (WFC Ramat Harsharon/Israel/IFPO) examined how intersectionality offers pathways to further tackle embedded discrimination.
Mental Wellbeing: A Performance Tool
Through personal storytelling, Dr Michael Bennett (PFA), Steph Labbe (Ex-Canada), Caroline Jonsson (FIFPRO/PFA Sweden) and Shannon Lynn (Vittsjo GIK/Scotland) provided thoughtful insight into mental health in football; how mental health can be used as a performance tool, and the current relationship between mental health and social media.
Maternity and Pregnancy: From Regulation to Performance
Line Roddik-Hansen (Ex-Denmark/Danish player association), Becca Roux (USA Women's National Team Players Association) and Fern Whelan (PFA) discussed the issues surrounding athlete-parents, current maternity regulations and personal experiences of returning to play after pregnancy.