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20 May 2016
The time for women’s beach soccer has arrived
By Paria Shahriari. Head of Beach Soccer at the Iran Football Association.
Paria Shahriari is Head of Beach Soccer - Iran FA
Beach Soccer has enjoyed solid growth over the past years. Competitions have been growing in all corners of the world and the skill level of its participants has experienced an impressive increase.
The development efforts have targeted different areas, ranging from the top-class professional sphere down to grassroots level, and the results are today clearly noticeable. Women’s beach soccer is one of the fields in which we have clearly seen important steps taken.
So far, this effort has largely stayed at national, educational and grassroots levels and has not, as yet, transcended, despite some exceptions in the last years, to the international competition scale.
That is all about to change, however.
The work done in this field has been a rewarding and inspiring effort, as it clearly showcases the spirit of beach soccer, how easily transmittable the sport is and how big its inclusive potential is.
According to the latest surveys, up to 54 national football associations are actively working on women’s beach soccer growth, with different programs and activities designed to foster the development of the sport amongst women.
Among them, we find some of those countries who host stunning national championships such as Italy, Switzerland or Brazil, unmistakable powerhouses in beach soccer, and also countries with a huge sporting culture.
But the list comprises many other football associations from different continents such as Iraq, Fiji, Hungary, Greece, Lithuania, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, Seychelles and South Africa.
The footprint gets deeper.
The group of countries that have added women’s beach soccer to its offering is increasing and in Iran we feel proud to be one of the pioneers in this group.
We have always understood the importance of driving forward both male and female sport - one of the reasons that our women’s beach soccer programme, including a strong national championship, is key to our development projects.
This has already brought excellent outcomes, with a solid women’s player base in the country and different programs blossoming in various regions.
This benefits Iranian sport in its entirety, as it results in a better understanding of beach soccer, improved infrastructures and a more precise approach to development plans, both for men and women.
In other words, it helps federations build a more clinical vision.
With the Euro Winners Cup 2016, women’s beach soccer takes a new step as it breaks the barrier to project women beach soccer to an international level and a global audience. It is a very important landmark, but it is just one more step of many to come.
Women’s beach soccer has a great future ahead. Let’s enjoy it.