UEFA welcomes Azerbaijan's women's Under-16 national team from today for a football training camp at its headquarters in Nyon.
As hosts of the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, the Azerbaijan team will spend the week at the UEFA Centre of Football Excellence preparing for the international tournament with the help of UEFA specialists.
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said: "UEFA has witnessed the Azeri FA's commitment to women's football and we are delighted to support them with the development of the game at grassroots level."
General secretary of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA), Elkhan Mammadov, said: "Our federation is proud to get UEFA's acknowledgement and support for the work we do in women's football development. The AFFA hopes to set an example for all associations in the region in this regard.
As well as taking part in first-class training sessions, the Azerbaijani women's U16s will play friendly matches against their age-group counterparts from Team Vaud and Switzerland's women's U16s at the Colovray Stadium, on Wednesday 10 August and Friday 12 August respectively.
Friday's game will be attended by Gianni Infantino, Elkhan Mammadov, UEFA Executive Committee member by invitation and chairwoman of the UEFA Women's Football Committee Karen Espelund, and general secretary of the Swiss Football Association (SFV-ASF) Alex Miescher.
The Azerbaijan players and coaching staff will also make an official visit to UEFA HQ and will meet UEFA colleagues working on women's football development and women's competitions.
Women's football continues to grow in importance and numbers – UEFA counts more than 1.8 million registered female players in Europe. UEFA's continued commitment to the women's game was highlighted in December 2010 when the Executive Committee decided to allocate €100,000 to each of UEFA's 53 member associations every year between 2012 and 2016 for developing the sport.
In addition, four national associations were selected to receive €50,000 of extra funding as part of a women's football development pilot scheme. This has already led to the Republic of Ireland setting up a national women's league and Portugal staging a women's football day. Following the success of the pilot scheme, it was decided to renew the operation for the 2011/12 season, increasing the availability of funding to 40 national associations.
Matches at Colovray Stadium this week (free entry):
Wednesday 10 August (17.00): Azerbaijan U16 v Team Vaud
Friday 12 August (15.30): Azerbaijan U16 v Switzerland U16