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Fifa’s women’s football financial commitment doubled to $1bn

Alex Morgan of the USA and Sherida Spitse of the Netherlands battle for possession during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Final (by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Fifa has agreed to double its investment in women’s football over the course of the cycle spanning 2019 to 2022, along with endorsing a reforms package which will seek to rein in the commissions that agents can take out of player transfers.

A meeting of Fifa’s ruling Council in Shanghai, China today (Thursday) saw world football’s governing body commit to invest $1bn (€897.5m) in the women’s game during the 2019-2022 cycle, as a result of an agreement on extra dedicated funding of $500m.

This amount will be taken from Fifa’s reserves as an addition to the $500m already approved by the Fifa Congress to be invested in women’s football as part of the budget for the current four-year cycle.

In July, Fifa reopened the bidding process for the 2023 Women’s World Cup after the Council approved the tournament’s expansion from 24 to 32 teams. All bids must be submitted by December, with the hosts expected to be announced in May 2020.

Today’s news also comes a year on from the launch of Fifa’s first ever global strategy for women’s football, which outlined how it would work with confederations and Member Associations (MAs) to grow the women’s game.

The strategy document described Fifa’s objective to increase the level of female participation in football across the world with the stated goal of having 60 million female players by 2026. The strategy document set out plans to introduce a women’s equivalent to the men’s Club World Cup.

Meanwhile, the Fifa Council has today endorsed the ‘second reform package’, delivered by the Task Force Transfer System and agreed to by the Football Stakeholders Committee, which regulates the representation and remuneration of agents; the player loan system in the game; and the training reward regime.

The Football Stakeholders Committee last month approved a series of key steps that led to today’s rubber-stamping from the Fifa Council. The measures include the establishment of a cap on agents’ commissions comprising 10 per cent of the transfer fee for agents of releasing clubs, three per cent of the player’s remuneration for player agents and three per cent of the player’s remuneration for agents of engaging clubs. There will be limitation of multiple representation to avoid conflicts of interest.

The new measures concerning agents come on top of several proposals endorsed last year, which are currently being developed by Fifa. These include reintroduction of a mandatory licensing system for agents, which will include further education measures and a requirement for continuing professional development.

All agents’ commissions will also be required to be paid via the ‘Fifa Clearing House’, which is currently being developed, while a resolution system is being established to solve disputes between agents, players and clubs.

The player loans market, another major talking point in the modern game, will have rules introduced to prevent player hoarding and ensure that loans have a valid sporting purpose for youth development as opposed to commercial purposes.

Limitations will be placed on international loans of players aged 22 and older. As of the 2020-21 season, a limit of eight international loans in and out, going down to six by the 2022-23 season, will be imposed with a maximum of three loans in and three loans out between the same clubs.