Polish Football Association presents Women’s Football Strategy through 2026

A collage of Polish women's football.

With Poland bidding for UEFA Women’s EURO 2025, calls for the nations strategy were rising. The Polish Football Association (PZPN) answered with its strategic document — presenting its plans during a conference at the National Stadium in Warsaw.

Even with the Poland Women’s National Team’s results and style of play getting better, Poland awaits its debut at the EUROs, World Cup and Olympic Games.

After the reform of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, Polish clubs didn’t manage to get through the qualifying rounds. The previous season saw the defeat of Czarni Sosnowiec against Ferencváros (who later lost to Vllaznia). This season brought a defeat of SMS Łódź to Anderlecht. In both cases, Polish teams were hosting the first-round tournament. And these games weren’t on their home pitches, but on the bigger ones usually used by their respective men’s teams.

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It’s natural that the self-development of Polish women’s football is ongoing. But the results will be seen just when it will be developed by the institution that is officially responsible for the entire football: the national association.

The strategy document, titled “The time for us,” is a guideline that needs the whole community of Polish women’s football needs to execute—concentrating not only on female players but also on coaches, referees, stakeholders and supporters.

A summary of the women’s football strategy

Based on the surveys from UEFA in 2017 and WE FIND in 2022 (on request of the Polish Football Association), the association picked four priorities: participation, professionalisation, visibility and image, and education and awareness.

With the participation concentrating on strict numbers, the aim for 2026 is to increase them to 50,000 players (with about 25,000 for now), 1,500 coaches, 1,000 referees and at least 16 festivals with a female-friendly atmosphere centered on football each year. This requires cooperation not only with the existing clubs and facilities—which will need the promotional boost—but also through the education of PE teachers by encouraging them to include football in their lesson plans with girls at the earliest stages of education.

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Talking about football, the world’s most popular game, professionalism is still lacking in countries where women’s football is more developed. And as Poland needs many improvements on that matter, this became the second priority—the one which will affect the core of the sport: the competition. It affects the players (with dual career and educational courses focused on out-of-pitch preparations such as dietetics, mental coaching and legal issues), as well as the clubs and their infrastructure.

The plans are to increase the organizational standard of women’s national team games and the Polish Cup Final. But also the license conditions for the Ekstraliga aiming to reach the UWCL level and the 1. League (second-tier) to be guided into the licensing process.

On strict sports matters, the scouting is to be wider and the U13–U15 teams shall get more attention. The association aims to have eight active women’s football scouts by 2026 and qualify for the 2025 EURO and 2027 World Cup. There’s also the goal to have 50% more professional contracts within top-tier leagues.

READ | Poland National Team: Ups and downs in 2022

The third priority is PR/marketing-based—to bring more positive attention to women’s football in Poland. The strategy document outlines the communicational and promotional approach is not yet created—impacting topics like the Ekstraliga and the women’s national team. But the ideas of building teams of ambassadors, influencers and engaged sponsors are in the works. Plus, the document outlines organizing an “international event,” which is already realized as Poland bids to host the UEFA Women’s EURO 2025.

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The second measurable goal mentioned in the document is an average attendance of 10,000 during national team games. So far, the record is 8,011 from a Poland–Belgium game in September 2021. However, 4,000 more free tickets were given out but not used by fans on that rainy afternoon in Gdańsk.

The final priority centers around education and awareness. It shows the need to emphasize women’s football within the general picture of Polish football. But the aims are not entirely focused on the pitch, with off-the-pitch education concentrated on self-development and safeguarding. The expected results are to establish workshops, conferences and mentoring programmes and bring in more female coach educators.

Read the full document in Polish here: Strategia Piłki Nożnej Kobiet w Polsce na lata 2022–26

What it all means

Only time will tell whether the strategy will bring the impact it assumes. The document is not a long one, mainly bringing up clear points that the association should’ve implemented long ago.

With the document released to the public, the PZPN can gauge the external reaction. This also allows the public to hold the governing board accountable for the progress of developing women’s football.

It will illustrate to the football community and the association if things are heading in the right direction. And it will prove Poland’s legitimacy to supporters, media and sponsors—all being the key figures for results. Increasing their interest determines if women’s football reaches the level of popularity we want it to have. Now, it’s just a matter of getting that chance.

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