FIFA releases Director of Women’s Football Tatjana Haenni

FIFA announced on Friday that the organization will be releasing Tatjana Haenni as Director of Women’s Football. Haenni, who is also the president of the Swiss professional soccer club FC Zürich, held the position for 18 years.

The decision comes as a surprise to some soccer fans, considering Haenni’s contributions to women’s soccer. Haenni is a former Swiss national team player who played a major role in professionalizing the women’s game in Switzerland. As director, she was responsible for organizing women’s tournaments and for the international development of women’s soccer around the world.

FIFA officials released a statement saying that the decision was based on the restructuring of their organization after they had hired Sarai Bareman for the Chief Football Officer position.

[More from Excelle Sports: FIFA appoints Sarai Bareman as first Chief Women’s Soccer Officer]

“In November last year, Sarai Bareman was appointed Chief Football Officer,” officials wrote in the statement. “She heads the newly created Women’s Football Division and reports directly to FIFA Deputy Secretary-General Zvonimir Boban and to FIFA management. The new department is currently being restructured and organized (also personnel). This is directly linked to the overall strategy for the development of women’s football.”

“At the end of January, FIFA dismissed me, ended the employment contract and released me as soon as possible,” Haenni told media. “I look back on 18 interesting, motivating, fascinating years in international women’s football. I have done my work and my activities with full commitment, conviction for the cause and with a lot of passion.

For the future, I would like all sports organizations to make efforts to promote women’s sports and the representation of women in the decision-making committees and to make available adequate resources.”

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