FIFA Talent Development Scheme makes further strides in 2023

FIFA, 04 Jan 2024


The FIFA Talent Development Scheme reached a milestone in 2023, as it moved forward to the phase of implementation. In March, the FIFA Council approved the regulations for the 2023‑2026 operational life cycle, which were well received by the FIFA Congress that took place in Rwanda.

With the aim of helping member associations reach their full potential and ensuring that all talented players are given the chance to develop and be discovered, the scheme seeks to create a sustainable legacy for long-term player development, maximising the opportunities provided in each participating member association.

Currently, a total of 175 member associations have a development plan in place under the scheme, with the main, long-term development objective being to raise the football standards of their men’s and women’s national teams.

The main focus of this initiative is to invest in academies, with FIFA planning to ensure that 75 of its member associations have at least one high-performance academy or centre of excellence in place by 2027 through its Academies Programme, as well as to expand the youth tournaments and hold them more regularly. Furthermore, President Infantino reiterated his and FIFA’s commitment to the programme, as is attested to by the USD 200-million fund that FIFA has provided for the scheme.

An important milestone was reached at the end of November in India. Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger travelled to the country to meet with the All India Football Federation’s management and visit its new training centre.

During his four-day tour, Wenger visited the new training centre in Bhubaneswar in the state of Odisha, which is part of a wider national initiative to identify the best young talents in the country and help them develop by providing them with the best possible conditions.

“There are many children in the world who don’t get the chance to develop their talent, and we can change that,” said Wenger. “We want to develop elite players in countries where there’s potential for further development.”

All member associations can apply once a year to be part of the scheme and can also benefit from some of the resources that the FIFA Training Centre offers. This is a free, dynamic platform to which member associations can sign up to get first-class technical information, much like on the Technical Development Platform.

During the recent FIFA Football Summit 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger highlighted the role that all parties involved in football are playing in its evolution.

“I believe that we [are moving] very quickly from a society of work towards a society of sport, and football lovers have a big responsibility in that, to give every country a chance to develop our sport,” Mr Wenger explained.

“We need specialised eyes to go in there and help to identify the talent because we want to give the importance to intelligence, to technique, to the technical level,” stated Mr Wenger, who added that a “minimum contact time” of five training sessions and one game per week for players aged between 12 and 15 years of age was required to enable talent to flourish.

“Basically, we want to develop a technically perfect player. That means no matter what, we want to make the ball your friend. No matter where it comes from, it is welcome. And that means we want to equip the players to deal with every situation they will face in football. And that is technique. We are firstly a technical sport – we never want to forget that.

Coach development

Another important pillar under the umbrella of the scheme is FIFA’s objective to develop the talent of coaches through the Talent Coach Programme.

Following a six-month pilot in 2023 involving seven countries (Kyrgyz Republic, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Benin, South Africa, Fiji and Finland), 25 of FIFA’s member associations will now each benefit from working with a talent coach for two years.

The key objectives of the Talent Coach Programme are:

  • to put the best young players with the best in each country;to increase the contact time; and
  • to increase the contact time; and
  • to improve the processes of planning, talent identification and coach education.
FIFA Technical Study Group
At every FIFA tournament this year, the FIFA Technical Study Group has analysed player and team performances, sharing the information gathered and its experiences with both the players and the general public.

Starting at the FIFA Club World Cup™ in Morocco and continuing at the FIFA U-20 World Cup™ in Argentina, the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Australia & New Zealand, the FIFA U-17 World Cup™ in Indonesia and the FIFA Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia, each moment of each match at FIFA tournaments this year has been observed live by a member of the Technical Study Group at the stadium.

Next steps (2023-2026 cycle)

In March 2023, FIFA published a brochure on global football development for the 2023‑2026 cycle. It presented the programmes and services that will be available to the member associations over this cycle. Moving forward, the FIFA Global Football Development Division will continue to support the member associations in four key areas:

Talent development: A high-performance football environment is key to giving every talent a chance and to making national teams stronger.

Technical leadership: Strong technical leadership is essential to manage football.

Coaching development: Quality players on the pitch need good coaches. FIFA can help to train qualified coach educators so that member associations can run their own coaching education programmes.

Amateur football: The Amateur Football Environment Analysis will look at how we can work together to grow the game even more.

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