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Case Studies Leadership Programme

The Women in Football Leadership Programme by UEFA

By 29 September 2021No Comments

Launched in 2014, the Women in Football Leadership Programme was developed as a response from UEFA to feedback from its member associations. As a result, the European governing body established a specific leadership programme for women involved in the European national associations.

Brief outline of the initiative

The WFLP aims to accelerate a development process within the UEFA‘s members associations, ie to step up a development process within Europe’s national associations. It indeed came as an answer to the inexorable rise of women’s football which created a call for greater participation by women in the European football decision-making process.

The WFLP initiative is aimed at women working in all areas of the football landscape – not necessarily women working specifically in the women’s football sector.

It seeks to identify individuals who have the potential to become leaders, and help them develop the necessary appropriate skills through this initiative. Moreover, women already occupying leadership positions will be offered extra support in their roles.

In practice, participants to the Women in Football Leadership Programme benefit from:

  • A week-long session

The seminar programme is comprehensive and focuses on a variety of topics relevant to the individual qualities and working tools necessary for leadership – self-awareness and the capacity for self-analysis, networking skills, teamwork and team-building, the ability to influence, coach others, and make an impact in a high-profile role.

  • A year-long mentor scheme

Men and women leaders from inside and outside football are participating in the programme in a mentor role – giving crucial advice and exchanging experiences with participants along their development path.


1 week-long session + 1 year-long mentoring scheme


Once a year


Covered by UEFA for representatives of European national associations and by FIFA for representatives of other NA



Key elements


Women only

Country of origin


Country/Region of implementation

Firstly European - now International

Number of participants

24 participants per year

Core objective of the Programme

☒ Women empowerment (identifying barriers and working on strengths, creating a community)
☐ Supporting organizational change (strategy for developing diversity, implementation of specific policies, support to change makers)
☒ Allies buy-in and support (mentors, men championing)
☐ External Scrutiny (Pledge board, Indicators, celebration of success…)
☐ Other => Please specify:

Actions implemented

☐ Internal Diversity & Inclusion Strategy for a safe workplace with equal rights
☐ Commitment of men - please specify: 20% men included in the program
☐ Personal development training
☐ Role model highlighted
☒ Networking (women network, men network or mixed)
☒ Mentoring (unique or mixed gender, please specify)
☐ Coaching (ability to inspire and grow people/Foster emulation/ Being influential)
☐ Events (sharing with other companies) - please specify:
☐ Other - please specify:


☐ Online e-learning Module
☐ Online seminar
☒ Workshops
☐ Conference
☐ Self-Assessment tool
☐ Consolidated educational/training programme
☐ Other, please specify:

Identified Key Success Factors

- Delivered in partnership with IMD Business School
- Offering participants a wide variety of tools in preparation for a place in the boardrooms and other decision-making positions within European football

Transferable bites/elements

- Strategic direction based on needs from the ground expressed by members
- Collaboration between continental and international umbrella organisations


“FIFA believes it is essential to improve the gender balance within football’s decision-making bodies. Having more women rise to leadership positions in football should be the norm and not the exception. With this in mind FIFA, UEFA and the IMD Business School have organised the Women in Football Leadership Programme, to provide a platform for femal executives in football to grow, flourish and take on more prominent roles within their organisations.”

Fatma SamouraSecretary General - FIFA

“The benefits are multiple, and in particular the networking opportunities and getting the time to reflect. There is also the personal coaching that allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses in terms of areas that need to be more developed to get more confidence.”

Sarah O’SheaFormer beneficiary & now mentor

Source of information: Online documentation

Check Out More

An initiative selected as a case study of the SWinG library of leadership development initiatives.  

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