Last month Fiona McIntyre joined the Scottish FA from SWF (Scottish Women’s Football) after a seven year spell, holding the position of Chief Executive Officer since June 2017.
During her first interview since becoming Scottish FA’s Head of Girls’ and Women’s Football, Fiona covered a variety of subjects including the progression of the Girl’s and Women’s Football Strategy, the distribution of FIFA’s Covid Relief Fund and her aim of having more voices from women’s football in leadership positions across the association.
As well as planning for the launch of the strategy, Fiona has joined Chief Executive, Ian Maxwell and Chief Football Officer, Andy Gould in their search for a new head coach of the Scotland Women’s National Team.
She said: “I’m here to drive forward the girls' and women’s game in Scotland. My main objective is to deliver the strategy and in the short term the aim is to communicate the strategy to the wider public.
“Another short term goal is to appoint a new national team head coach which will be a key and really important appointment.
"We are also determined to get people back out on pitches. We appreciate it’s been a really hard for people and that people haven’t been able to enjoy football as much as they’d have liked. In the next few months it’ll be about supporting our clubs and all of the girls and women who want to get back playing football."
Regarding the appointment of a new head coach for the Scotland Women’s National Team, Fiona has set a primary goal of June to have the new leader in place but accepts that if they need to wait until the World Cup Qualifying fixtures in September to find the right candidate, they will do.
She said: “There’s already been a lot of work done in advance of me coming in, so I’m now picking up with Andy Gould and Ian Maxwell to progress the process of the appointment.
“We’ve had some strong candidates already but we’re not satisfied yet. We want to cast our net wide and far, to ensure we have the best candidates possible so that we make the right appointment. It’s important our national team return to major tournaments. That’s what we want and that’s what we’re all striving for.
“In an ideal world we would like to have a person in place for an international camp in June but the most important thing is we get the right person and we do have some flexibility regarding that. The next qualifying matches aren’t until September so while June is our immediate target it is important that we get the right candidate."
Due to the impact of the pandemic, FIFA has granted the Scottish FA £350,000 as part of a COVID relief fund. Fiona outlined where she sees that money being spent.
“People have probably had limited experiences of enjoying football in the last 12 months but it feels like we’re coming out the other side of that. In terms of the money £50,000 has already gone to SWF and they’ll determine the best use for that. The majority of the rest of the remaining money will be invested into participation and grassroots programmes. It’ll be very much focused on a post-COVID return to participation for players who’ve not been able to play a lot of football in the last 12 months. We also want to engage new participants. What we don’t want is a lost generation.
“A small portion will also support performance, recognising the impact that COVID has had, mitigating some of the challenges that have come around as a result of the pandemic.”