Monday 12 September 2022, 22:00

Living Football: Crime Fighting, Coach Mentorship & Beach Soccer

  • FIFA celebrating two-year anniversary of partnership with UNODC

  • Ramune Bistrickaite: "Match-fixing is one of the greatest threats to modern football"

  • Second edition of FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme in focus and we hear from leading Beach Soccer experts

The latest episode of Living Football deals with the partnership between FIFA and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which will be celebrating its two-year anniversary in September. A comprehensive global integrity programme was launched in March 2021, providing all of FIFA’s 211 Member Associations with greater means and knowledge when it comes to the fight against match-fixing. At the heart of this programme is education and expertise development within the 211 FIFA member associations as well as specialised and further training for football integrity officials. Since the programme began, over 400 representatives of football associations and other authorities have taken part in a total of 29 seminars, dealing with such diverse subjects as creating integrity initiatives and reporting systems, protection of competitions, cooperation between individual interest groups and investigations.

Whilst the global FIFA Integrity Programme may have concluded, FIFA and the UNODC are set to continue working together to support the member associations and confederations in improving their ability to prevent, expose and investigate cases of fixing. "Match-fixing is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – threat to modern football,” said Ramune Bistrickaite, Integrity Officer at the Lithuanian Football Federation, speaking in the context of the Integrity Programme, which she described as “very relevant… and one that we’d already been waiting on for some time now. It gave us a great opportunity to extend and update our knowledge.” "FIFA is doing great work. There is a solid set of rules in place, committed executive boards and employees with real passion. In my view though, there’s still room for improvement," she added, and indeed that is one of the many reasons why FIFA and the UNODC are looking to keep up the fight for fairness in the sport.

In addition to the FIFA/ UNODC partnership, another focus of the current episode of Living Football is the second edition of the FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme that was begun in May 2022. It is one of eight individual programmes within the FIFA Women’s Football Development Programme, and its aim is to promote and strengthen a new generation of female coaches. Programme participants each get individual instruction in women’s football from a top-level male or female coach over a period of 18 months. The coaches came together during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2022™ for a three-day workshop, which proved to be a valuable opportunity for exchanges of knowledge between coaches, while some of the mentors and mentees got to meet in person for the first time. "The programme in itself is absolutely fantastic. Just look at the level of information present in the room, the knowledge, the experience, and then of course the possibility of exchanging with the next generation of male and female coaches who are currently working with U-17 and U-20 international teams and clubs," said Belinda Wilson, FIFA Senior Technical Development Manager. "The programme is designed to build up a global network where we can interlink the generations and go beyond boundaries, being curious and innovative and continuing to grow the game at such a high level."

It is no secret that the global pandemic also hit football very hard. The first tournament to be held after the outbreak of COVID-19 was the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™. Concluding this latest episode, we hear from leading Beach Soccer experts from around the world, who recently met in Zurich. Things are happening around the world on the pitch – and in the sand.