UEFA News: UEFA announced Steffi Jones, German women’s football legend, as the ambassador for UEFA’s Women’s Football Development Programme, it was announced on October 05, 2011. In this newly created role, Steffi Jones will work closely with UEFA to further develop women’s football in Europe (Steffi Jones Women Football Ambassador).With a career in football spanning over 20 years, Steffi Jones was the ideal candidate for this role. As Head of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Organising Committee, Steffi Jones made a significant contribution to the event, which received worldwide praise. Ms Jones has played successfully at both club competition and national team level and today holds the post of Director of Girls & Women’s football at the German Football Association (DFB).
The announcement was made in Frankfurt ahead of the UEFA Women’s Champions League match between 1. FFC Frankfurt and Norwegian club Stabaek FK. President of the German Football Association (DFB) and member of UEFA’s Executive Committee Dr Theo Zwanziger, as well as UEFA Executive Committee member by invitation and Chairwoman of the UEFA Women’s Football Committee Karen Espelund were both present at the ceremony.
UEFA President Michel Platini said: “UEFA is happy to be working in partnership with the DFB to raise the profile of women’s football. Steffi Jones is an ideal figurehead for this. UEFA also continues to support all of its member associations in women’s football development. The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup brought women’s football to centre stage and we need to continue the good work.”
President of the German Football Association (DFB) Dr Theo Zwanziger said: “Steffi Jones took on a big responsibility and did a great job as president of the organising committee for the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany. Her wisdom, charisma and receptiveness earned herself an excellent public profile. It will take lots of projects and faces to turn this fantastic World Cup into sustainable benefits for women’s football worldwide. This is why I’m delighted that UEFA has decided to appoint Steffi Jones as the European organisation’s women’s football ambassador”.
UEFA Women’s Football Ambassador Steffi Jones said: “I am delighted to take on this important challenge. Being UEFA’s ambassador for women’s football development is a great honour and I am looking forward to further contributing to the rise of women’s football.”
In December 2010, the UEFA Executive Committee approved the distribution of the Women’s Football Development Programme funds through its HatTrick programme; an initial pilot phase in 2010/2011 saw the distribution of €50,000 to four national associations. As of October 2011, the second 2011/2012 pilot phase will receive additional budget and increase its funding to member associations, due to the large interest, from four to an unlimited number.
From July 2012 to 2016, Hat Trick III’s Women’s Football Development Programme will be awarding each member association with €100,000 on a yearly basis to be used specifically for the development of girls and women’s football. This represents an investment of €22 million and a clear demonstration of UEFA’s commitment to the development of girls and women’s football.
Karen Espelund presented UEFA’s guiding strategy for women’s football development at a meeting with all 53 member associations present in September. She stated that UEFA pledges to lead the development of all aspects of the girls’ and women’s game as a key priority, and will endeavor to act as a role model, through concrete action and by bringing women into governing positions.
The next key event in the women’s football calendar will also take place in Germany: Munich will host the 2011/12 UEFA Women’s Champions League final on Thursday 17 May.