Friday 24 November 2017, 14:31

FIFA Legends Think Tank: the future of the game, as seen by its heroes

For anyone who loves football, the scenes are so valuable that they border the unreal.

Two-time FIFA World Cup™ winner Cafu and Peter Schmeichel discuss the impact of the player transfer market on national leagues likes those of Brazil and Denmark. 1982 FIFA World Cup champion Alessandro Altobelli provides his insight about what the international match calendar was during his playing days and what it is now. Ruud Gullit and Alex Scott ask Pierluigi Collina to explain technical details about the adoption of video assistant referees (VAR).

The third edition of the FIFA Legends Think Tank meeting took the concept of giving a voice to former footballers one step further. Forty former leading players and coaches convened in London on the morning of The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony and held a fruitful three-hour session with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and representatives of the organisation’s senior management to discuss the current state of the game and, most importantly, its future.

“I want it to be clear that this is not simply a gathering to talk about football, but a forum where ideas and opinions are noted and taken into account whenever FIFA acts to decide on changes in football. This is why the agenda is filled with very concrete topics, which are currently a subject of debate within football administration around the world,” said Infantino when opening the meeting.

Firstly, the FIFA President and Deputy Secretary General (Football) Zvonimir Boban provided the group with updates and plans for the FIFA Legends programme. From then on, the former players and coaches engaged in very knowledgeable discussions about a pre-determined list of hot topics directly related to the game, culminating with a comprehensive update session on VAR conducted by the chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina.

“It is gratifying to discuss such a complex subject with people who know better than anyone what is at stake in an elite football match,” said Collina during an elucidative presentation filled with video examples. “The feedback we get here is of the kind that really brings value. It makes a difference.”

The participants of the third FIFA Legends Think Tank meeting: Carlo Ancelotti (Italy), Pablo Aimar (Argentina), Alessandro Altobelli (Italy), Emmanuel Amunike (Nigeria), Osvaldo Ardiles (Argentina), Júlio Baptista (Brazil), Bebeto (Brazil), Thomas Berthold (Germany), Cafu (Brazil), Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina), Vincent Candela (France), Iván Córdoba (Colombia), Alan Curbishley (England), Marcel Desailly (France), Luke Dowling (England), Diego Forlán (Uruguay), Nuno Gomes (Portugal), Ruud Gullit (Netherlands), Pat Jennings (Northern Ireland), Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands), Predrag Mijatović (Montenegro), Hidetoshi Nakata (Japan), Thomas N’Kono (Cameroon), Michael O’Neill (Northern Ireland), Jay Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Célia Sasić (Germany), Peter Schmeichel (Denmark), Alex Scott (England), Jaqueline Shipanga (Namibia), Dario Šimić (Croatia), Sissi (Brazil), Alexey Smertin (Russia), David Suazo (Honduras), David Trezeguet (France), Gianluca Vialli (Italy), Danny Wilson (England), Tony Woodcock (England), Dwight Yorke (Trinidad and Tobago), Javier Zanetti (Argentina) and Pascal Zuberbühler (Switzerland).