Women’s League Forum brings together international football leagues

2021 NWSL game ball.
A general view of the game ball used in the NWSL Challenge Cup match between the Orlando Pride and Gotham FC on April 14, 2021, at Exploria Stadium in Orlando FL. (Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire)

A new Women’s League Forum will unite professional women’s football leagues and governing bodies from across the world, said National Women’s Soccer League commissioner Jessica Berman.

Berman announced the forum at a press conference ahead of the NWSL Championship in San Diego. She will serve as co-chair alongside Annika Grällis, president of the top two Swedish women’s leagues, OBOS Damallsvenskan and Ellitetan.

“One of the things we think can help us build for the future is understanding best practices globally,” Berman said. She noted technology, training and facilities as examples.

Berman said that a group of women’s league leaders had already been gathering ‘in an informal way’ over the past 15 months, and they have ‘made the decision to formalize our group’.

That group will unite 16 governing bodies connected to women’s leagues across the world — the US, Spain, Japan, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Belgium, Scotland, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Women’s League Forum board

The WLF board is comprised of leaders from eight different leagues. It is co-chaired by Berman and Annika Grälls, the chair of the Damallsvenskan in Sweden. Per a WLF news release, members of the board include:

  • Mariana Gutierrez, head of Liga MX Femenil (Mexico)
  • Haruna Takata, chairwoman, WE League (Japan)
  • Beatriz Alvarez, president, Liga F (Spain)
  • Fiona McIntyre, managing director, Scottish Women’s Premier League (Scotland)
  • Nick Garcia, commissioner, A Leagues (Australia)
  • Lorin Parys, CEO, Pro League (Belgium)

Additionally, former FIFA Council member Moya Dodd consulted with the WLF and is now the board’s secretary.

Before the NWSL Championship, Berman said that the WLF had also invited FIFPRO to their discussions. USWNT Players Association executive director Becca Roux and NWSL Players Association executive director Meghann Burke also sat in on some of the meetings. Per Berman, the WLF has already established one group around safeguarding and another around player compensation to discuss how to incentivise clubs to invest in future talent.

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