- Union of Professional Footballers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SPFBiH) welcomed 120 new women’s members
- Project was financially supported through FIFPRO Division Europe’s Capacity Building and Development Fund
- SPFBiH organised several activities to support women’s players, including mental health workshops and player awards
The Union of Professional Footballers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SPFBiH) welcomed 120 new women’s members as part of a special project called: This is Our Game - Empowerment of Women in Bosnian Football.
The project was financially supported through FIFPRO Division Europe’s Capacity Building and Development Fund.
"Thanks to the support from FIFPRO, we succeeded in our goals," said Amela Limic, who manages the women's football project. “Female football players have their rights. We want to empower them and continuously develop their status to provide them with better future prospects.”
The SPFBiH organised several activities to support women’s players, including mental health workshops and player awards.
Limic and her colleagues visited a large number of clubs to inform players about the work of the union, players’ basic rights and maternity regulations. They signed up more than 120 women’s football players as well as held mental health workshops with the help of a psychologist.
“Sadly, female players continue to struggle in our region with non-acceptance of their sports careers and negative stereotypes," said Limic. "Therefore, the mental health education session was of great importance.”
National team forward Sofija Krajsumovic (ZNK Radnik Bumerang) was one of the players attending a union meeting. "The information about the union’s work was very interesting, as well as the mental health presentation. From a player’s perspective, we can only benefit from activities such as these.”
"We should definitely speak more often about mental health issues and try to educate ourselves about this topic next to our football training and games,” said Maja Hrelija, a midfielder for ZNK Emina Mostar. “It is important to learn and understand how to deal with situations that can negatively affect our game and results.”
Krajsumovic and Hrelija were both voted in the Crystal 11, the best women’s team of the season, which for the first time was part of the union’s player awards ceremony.
“It's a great pleasure for me and a big motivation to continue forward with my career,” Krajsumovic said. “The organisation of the event was amazing. I’m happy that, alongside the men’s players, the eleven best players from the women’s league were also elected.”
Women's players in Bosnia and Herzegovina have an amateur status, although clubs have no legal obstacles to give players a professional status. The player union is aspiring towards a gradual professionalisation of the league, which would provide the players with more rights and security.
“The main goal of our project was to increase the number of women members,” said Limic. “This has now increased to 181, which is more than 95 percent of all first division players. And that number also includes 16 of the 22 national team players who were called up in April.”