Асоціація жіночого футболу Львівської області
Since the money intended for women's football never reached the clubs, Irina Vanat decided to found her own women's football association in Lviv.
How did you come to play football?
Even as a child I played football mostly with boys, because in the Soviet Union there were no teams for girls. After I finished school, I started playing in the capital Kiev and later in Moscow. With these teams I took part in the Soviet championship, which we also won three times.
So why did you finally start your own association?
When I ended my career as a player because of the bad conditions in women's football, I initially did not want to work in football. But then friends and other people asked me to support women's football in Ukraine. So I founded my own women's soccer association.
What exactly are the tasks of your association?
My association consists of teams from the Ukrainian city Lviv. We want to network and coordinate the people who work in this field and organize tournaments. Our goal is to make women's football popular and to develop it further. The association has been in existence for three years now. So far, we have been able to build three girls' teams with players from the region around Lviv. This year, one of the teams is even being promoted to the Ukrainian Premier League. There is also a representative team.
If they can finance it, the teams will go to tournaments all over the country, and they have even played against national teams from Moldova and Russia.
How do you work together with the Ukrainian Football Association?
In 2011 I met the vice-chairman of the Ukrainian Football Association to discuss women's football issues with him. He promised to support us. I would also like to work with the person responsible for the Lviv region. We hope that closer cooperation with the national football association will be possible in the future.
What were the biggest obstacles for your work?
Unfortunately, we do not receive any public support for our work. Women's soccer does not seem to be profitable for the government. Therefore we have hardly any stadiums or other venues for tournaments. We only play on small local pitches. Since the government does not help here, some people have simply taken matters into their own hands. They rebuild stadiums or correct the existing deficiencies.
How do you finance the work of your association?
I still have some savings from the past and now I invest my own money in women's football. A few committed people have built up a lot in Lviv. Some of the coaches for example work on a voluntary basis. We are doing all this so that women's soccer finally becomes more popular.
Präsidentin des Frauen-Fußball-Verbandes der Region Lviv.