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Beautiful game, beautiful business: Why this, why us, and why now?

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James Kyd

May 31, 2023

We are always looking for ways to help inspire our small business community, motivate the next generation of small business owners and build our brand relevance globally. Football is the most popular and watched sport on the planet and women’s football is ascending at a rapid rate in popularity. The opportunity to help fuel and contribute to this growth is massive.

In April 2022 we kicked off a new global partnership as a FIFA Women’s Football Partner and since then we’ve signed a range of other national and local women’s football partnerships around the world. 

For Xero, this is far more than just a brand association. We are very clear on the opportunity to inspire, to stand for something and make a difference. 

While the women’s game is gaining in popularity, commercially there is still some way to go. Football clubs are most often not-for-profit social enterprises and essential for building the pipeline of talent in the women’s game. They also play an important social and economic role in communities right across the world. 

We know Xero can help drive commercial success in women’s football leading to better outcomes for women globally. Whether it’s by providing access to educational resources for financial management, or helping clubs connect with accountants and bookkeepers. 

Our global partnership with FIFA Women’s Football

Xero was the second company to become a FIFA Women’s Football Partner under FIFA’s new commercial structure which came into effect in 2023. We made a considered decision to partner at the top level of the women’s game because we believe it’s an opportunity where we could both reach our objectives and make a difference. 

As part of our partnership we’re supporting two FIFA women’s football development programmes: Capacity Building for Administrators – using Xero’s expertise and technology to support women’s football development – and Coach Education Scholarships – to create easier pathways for women to gain coaching qualifications. 

While recognising a global platform like FIFA Women’s Football is a fantastic opportunity, we always knew we wanted to take our support for women’s football further, and do more in countries where we have a presence and significant customer base. 

Teaming up with Lewes F.C. (aka Equality F.C.) in the UK

In July 2022, we signed a multi-year partnership with Lewes F.C., the world’s first gender equal club, which splits its playing budget and resources equally between the men’s and women’s first teams. As a small business in its own right, Lewes’ own aspiration for financial sustainability we hope will become a model for other small football clubs to help grow the game and attract more girls into the sport. We work together on a range of initiatives to enable clubs across England to improve financial viability, and work with local small business and accounting and bookkeeping communities. 

Our national partnership with The FA in England

We take huge pride in partnering with the Lionesses, and their triumph in the 2022 Euros was a watershed moment for the women’s game in England. But there’s a long way to go, with almost half (47%) of football clubs in England stating that they would benefit from support with the financial management of their club. 

Through our partnerships with the Lionesses and England Football we work with The FA Grassroots Team, County Football Associations, and the FA Club Consultants to provide access to a comprehensive range of educational resources for financial management. We also provide a platform for grassroots clubs to find and connect with local accountants and bookkeepers. 

Supporting grassroots with New Zealand Football

Our five year partnership with New Zealand Football, which we announced at the end of 2022, will help Kiwis balance better numbers off the field through a club support programme and create a legacy from the excitement of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. The club support programme will set the benchmark for club standards nationwide, focusing on factors such as administration, leadership, financing, player development, and community engagement. 

Xero’s Better Numbers program

In addition to each of our partnerships Xero provides football clubs with resources and guides directly to help them manage their books as well as mobilising our community of accounting and bookkeeping partners with advice to help them help their local clubs. We call this our Better Numbers Program

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far, and were honoured to be one of 29 brands selected by a panel of experts to be included on the Laureus Sport For Good Index 2022 for the work we’re doing to make a positive impact through women’s football. 

With only 50 days to go, roll on 20 July and the kick off of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023!

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