Iryna Vanat

Former football player in the Soviet Championship, coach and president of the Women’s Football Association of the Lviv region. 

“Managing without official help!”

Iryna Vanat has always been a passionate football player. After finishing school, she moved from a rural area to Kiev and later to Moscow where some of the rare clubs for female players were based. Despite winning the Soviet Championship three times Iryna’s athletic success was still socially and institutionally disregarded. As the National Football Association disadvantaged female players in terms of financial and social esteem, she was forced to turn her back on playing football.

Approximately ten years later, Iryna could not stay inactive anymore and started her own football association for women. Investing her own personal savings into this project, football again has become more than a job, but, as Iryna says, “Football is a main part of my life. The development of my possibilities. The activation of my dreams and aims.”

“As a result of the Ukrainian government not helping to improve the situation of women’s football, some have taken this issue into their own hands and have rebuilt the stadiums or made repair"


City: Lviv, Ukraine
Founded in: 2010
Members: 120
Greatest success: Recruitment of a huge number of volunteers helping to rebuild fundamental infrastructural needs for female football players.


Women’s Football Association Lviv Region

“Do it yourself!”

For several years, FIFA’s funds assigned to women’s football have not reached local organizations and clubs in Ukraine. In 2011, some women under the leadership of Iryna Vanat decided to take the promotion of women’s football into their own hands and started to campaign autonomously for women’s football in the region of Lviv.

The association aims at raising the interest of local authorities for women’s football and putting pressure on the Ukrainian National Football Assocation. The women call for an inspector that monitors the quality of promotion of female football. The women still have to play on small pitches and do not receive any public support. In response to this, they develop a great expertise on futsal (small-sized variation of football) and repairing abandoned stadiums and fields.

“Football not only provides an opportunity to express yourself and get pleasure from it, but also helps you to develop – physically, mentally, socially.”