FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke says that women's football is "one of the great achievements" of the world game, but in the same breath he lamented the lack of corporate support for it.
"We are not getting enough corporate support... we have not been able to get a commercial partner and we are hoping to find a way so it doesn't have to be supported by men's football all the time," said the Frenchman as he addressed the inaugural CONCACAF Sports Summit held in the Cayman Islands on Tuesday.
A major sponsor of football in
the CONCACAF spread that embraces North and Central America and the Caribbean, cell phone giant Digicel, said through a top official that the company sees the women's game as being "very important" and it would not be opposed to invest further in it.
"We have always shown an interest, but how do we grow this? To us (Digicel) it's very important as it (women's football) seems to bring boys and girls together, and from a family perspective that's important to us," said director of group marketing, Keiran Foley, who also spoke at the summit.
CONCACAF general secretary Enrique Sanz said the women's game is very big in the confederation, therefore the success of the USA and Canada, to a lesser extent, should be used as model for other territories to develop their own programmes.
"Women's football is huge in CONCACAF and we need to now share information that has made the USA and Canada so successful, we need to share their success with other members associations," urged Sanz, an American/Colombian.
The USA are currently ranked number one in the world by FIFA, Canada are number seven, while Mexico are seated at number 24 rounding out the highest-ranked CONCACAF teams.
Victor Montagliani, the president of the Canada Soccer Association, said the women's game has made quantum leaps in CONCACAF, and has positioned itself for more growth in the near future.
"Women's football is alive and kicking... the future of football is with women and in CONCACAF that future has arrived. For us football transcends gender, it's not about women or men, more importantly it's about football," he noted.
Some 30-odd million women are said to be involved in the game globally, and based on trends, that figure is expected to grow.
Canada will be the host of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup and Montagliani said that the event "will touch the lives of Canadians from coast to coast" as seven cities spread across the vast country will host matches.
He revealed that the budget to put on the show is set at Canadian $309 million, with a projected inflow of $235 million. Some 400 million viewers will watch the matches on television, while an estimated 1.5 million spectators are expected through the turnstiles.
The FIFA Women's World Cup will have 24 countries taking part and will see 52 matches played over a four-week span.
Meanwhile, Jamaica are hosting the CFU Under-20 qualifiers in Kingston, with Montego Bay set to host the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship from October 30 to November 9.