Held on International Women's Day, the first ECA Workshop on Women's Club Football reunited over 55 participants from 22 different countries in Barcelona on the 8th of March. Organised at La Masia - Centre de Formació Oriol Tort in collaboration with FC Barcelona Femení, this first ever workshop dedicated to women's club football saw the participation of representatives from 35 different clubs, two European leagues as well as officials from both FIFA and UEFA.
Women's football has been high on ECA's agenda ever since the creation of the ECA Women's Football Committee (WFC) in 2013. Since then, ECA has been committed to promoting women's club football and to establishing a dialogue with the relevant stakeholders at European and global level. As a key element to this strategy, ECA decided to organise this one-day event with the objective of reuniting clubs, leagues and football governing bodies in order to share experiences, knowledge and best practices and build a constructive dialogue on the topic.
Focused mainly on organisation, strategy and crisis management, the ECA Workshop on Women's Club Football featured three case studies - each followed by a Q&A session during which the audience was able to share ideas and experiences related to the different topics - a lively panel discussion and a tour of the Academy facilities used by the women's team as well as all youth teams of FC Barcelona to end the day.
Following the opening speech and welcome words by FC Barcelona Vice-President Jordi Mestre and ECA General Secretary Michele Centenaro, the workshop kicked off with the case study of FC Barcelona Femení (Spain), presented by Markel Zubizarreta, who went through the history of the women's section of the club. He notably detailed the opportunities and challenges of setting up a women's football section within a men's football club.
In the afternoon, the second case study illustrated the current situation in Sweden, with the intervention of Maria Hagström, Club Manager of Linköpings FC (Sweden), who explained the strategy adopted to allow an evolution of the interest towards women's football in the country. The third and last case study, provided by FC Twente Vrouwen President Yme Drost (Netherlands), focused on crisis management in a women's section within a men's football club.
Finally, and following a short networking break, a panel discussion on modern women's football club's strategy took place. Two of the three previous speakers returned on stage, accompanied by Viola Odebrecht from the VfL Wolfsburg Frauen Youth Department (Germany), and Linda Wijkström, General Secretary of Elitfotboll Dam (Sweden) and ECA WFC Vice-Chairwoman, in what proved to be a very lively and fruitful panel debate.
Similar to previous ECA Workshops, the first ECA Workshop Women's Club Football turned out to be a great success. The event proved very informative and the active participation of all attendees underlined the fact that women's club football is a fast growing reality in the European football landscape.