Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has announced the launch of what FIFA calls a “groundbreaking talent development programme” aimed at reducing the gap between the world’s leading football nations and the rest.
According to Wenger who is now working as FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development said the FIFA Talent Development Programme is “to ensure that every talent gets a chance”.
Speaking in Doha, where he has been attending a five-day FIFA-run workshop, the Frenchman added that the difference in the level of play between Europe and the rest of the world has become bigger.
He explained: “In many countries, the focus of the association is mainly on the senior national team, but this national team is always the consequence of football development across the country.
“We need more youth competitions to identify talent, offer them a pathway and develop coaching.”
FIFA says the programme will help develop home-grown coaches, technical directors and provide specialised courses for goalkeeping coaches, futsal and beach soccer.
According to the world football governing body, from this year, through the new Talent Development Programme, all 211 member associations will be entitled to benefit from a FIFA assessment of the various areas of their high-performance ecosystem in both men’s and women’s football, including all national teams, domestic leagues, scouting projects and academies.
Following the assessment performed by FIFA’s experts, a report will be produced for each of the member associations involved, thus benchmarking their technical ecosystem against global standards. Based on the reports, FIFA will implement tailor-made technical programmes in cooperation with the member associations from 2021.
“Sustainable development is a long-term approach and requires dedication, confidence and patience. Within the next six to eight months, we will have a good overview of what is needed everywhere in both men’s and women’s football, and then we will respond both online and offline with a team of experts to help develop football to the highest level and to have a lasting impact,” concluded Wenger.
According to FIFA, further pillars of FIFA’s technical development programme are:
1) Development of home-grown coach-educators through:
- Regional coach-educator courses
- Member associations’ coach-educator courses
- individual mentorship
2) Development of technical directors through:
- Courses and workshops
- Individual mentorship
3) Additional tailor-made courses for:
- Goalkeeping coaches
- Futsal and beach soccer
April Heinrichs, a high-performance expert and former coach of the US women’s national team, was quoted as saying: “The FIFA Talent Development Programme is going to be impactful because it’s a really targeted project. First, we will spend the year analysing, observing, watching and listening to all the associations to see what their strengths and challenges are. Then we’ll bring this wealth of information together and make recommendations. This will be the end of the analysis and the start of action.”