An all-female contingent of team liaison officers is set to assume responsibility for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022, which will be played across three cities in Maharashtra starting on January 20.
For Dr. Richa Kulkarni, who has travelled with the international men’s football teams as the only female official, the marquee event is an "unimaginable" opportunity to inspire women to step into the sports industry.
"It makes a huge difference having women in leadership roles, this will inspire and motivate other women to enter into sports industry by knowing that a woman has the capacity and the confidence to carry out the work impeccably," Kulkarni, a physiotherapist, who has served the Timor-Leste junior and senior national teams in FIFA and AFC national team competitions, said.
The AFC and LOC (local organizing committee) received an overwhelming response from experienced women across a large range of professional domains and the selected contingent is representative of the same diversity.
"Creating more opportunities for women has always been a part of our vision for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022. Thereby, it makes us proud to have an all-women contingent of team liaison officers, who have been selected on merit," said LOC Project Director, Nandini Arora.
"The 12 women represent a wide spectrum of professional domains and cultures, which adds to the diversity of this tournament," she said in a media statement on Friday.
Apart from Hindi and English, the TLO contingency can speak 11 different languages.
These include Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Mao, Angami, Russian, Hebrew, German, French, Spanish, and Urdu.
The Asian Cup will provide more opportunities to players to live their dream as five teams, along with co-hosts Australia, from the tournament, can qualify for the FIFA Women’s World 2023 and a further two may make it to the quadrennial event in Australia/New Zealand through the FIFA Inter-Confederation Playoffs.