Monday 25 March 2024, 17:00

Football for Schools blazing new trails in Vietnam

  • FIFA Football for Schools was launched in Vietnam from 20 to 22 March

  • 74 educators from all over the 16 provinces in the northern of the country took part in the capacity workshop and festival

  • A new module, Safeguarding and Child Protection, was added to the programme's methodology

  • For the first time FIFA Experts from Safeguarding and Child protection, Medical and Global Football Development were present in a joint support to Vietnam

Since its launch in 2019, the Football for Schools programme has taken its rightful place in more than half of FIFA's Member Associations and become a key part of the lives of over 40 million pupils. On 20, 21 and 22 March, it was Vietnam's turn to join the F4S family, reaping the benefits of an initiative through which football and education join forces to encourage schoolchildren to acquire life skills via entertaining training sessions. And this new school year has been a resounding success.

Launch ceremonies are traditionally festive occasions, and this one was no different: 74 educators from 16 Provinces and 250 students – girls and boys combined – took part in the festival on 22 March at the Experimental School of Education Science (Thuc Nghiem School) in Hanoi in presence of the Ministry of Education and Training, the principal of Thuc Nghiem School, in an atmosphere that was simultaneously joyous and studious. Topics on the agenda that were covered in depth by the knowledgeable F4S instructors included education, health and football, of course. And a vital module, which Vietnam was the first to experience, was added to the programme: Safeguarding and Child Protection.

“Here in Vietnam, the FIFA Football for Schools programme is embarking, for the first time, on a journey where the concept of Safeguarding and Child Protection, medical education to safeguard the health of young athletes, and strategic talent identification initiatives, are included in the core business and services to our Member Associations,” explained Football for Schools Director Fatimata Sidibe. “This is another milestone under the new concept and strategy of F4S to enable sustainable and potent solutions, and to have a real impact on education and football nationwide.”

Octavian Bivolaru, senior project manager within the Safeguarding and Child Protection division, added: “After discovering the philosophy of the F4S program, I realised that some of its fundamental principles, such as creating a relaxed and safe environment for children or tending to the needs of children, are perfectly compatible and interlinked with the objectives of FIFA Safeguarding and Child Protection. Moreover, the programme represents a perfect means for transmitting essential safeguarding knowledge to the PE teachers and grassroots coaches involved, making them aware of this important, but still new topic.”

For the first 48 hours, the 74 male and female PE teachers, from all over the 16 provinces in the northern of the country, learned the basics of the programme, as well as comprehensive guidance related to child protection. On the final day, they were joined by the happy group of pupils, thereby transitioning from theory to practice.

Tran Quoc Tuan, President of the Vietnamese Football Association (VFF), was also keen to praise the programme. “With the support of FIFA and the collaboration of the Ministry of Education and Training, more than 50,000 balls were recently delivered to 1,000 schools and more than 20 associations and youth academies across the country, in an approach that provides full support for the country’s football training programmes, and enables teachers and pupils to have better facilities,” he said.

“The VFF hopes that the project will be the basis for meaningful programmes and activities, bringing practical benefits to the development of school football and Vietnamese football in general.”

Subsequently, educators will be tasked with passing on their knowledge to colleagues spread around the country, with the aim of ensuring that as many schools as possible make football more accessible to young people by incorporating football-related activities into their education system. A second objective will be to identify players who show exciting potential; here, the F4S programme will work hand-in-hand with the Talent Development Scheme.

HANOI, VIETNAM - MARCH 22: FIFA Medical Director Dr. Andrew Massey during a FIFA Football for Schools workshop on March 22, 2024 in Hanoi, Vietnam. (Photo by Minh Hoang/FIFA)

The interest in promoting soccer on a global scale and the health benefits of the sport combine perfectly in this project.

Andrew Massey
Directeur de la Sous-Division Médicale de la FIFA

Aris Caslib, Regional Technical Consultant in FIFA's Football Development division, said: “The centerpieces of Global Football Development is to ‘give every talent a chance’ all over the world. Here in Vietnam, with F4S, we are guaranteed to reach 23.9 per cent of the population – the kids who play the game – and to give them the opportunity to grow through football with the help of instructor-coaches who understand their role when it comes to the development of talent. The educator creates an environment for the pupil that is conducive to football success.”

In addition, the aforementioned environment is healthy, first and foremost. The programme pays particular attention to health and well-being, including provisions for physical activity, the promotion of mental health, healthy decision-making, nutrition, good hygiene and personal safety.

“Using the superbly designed Football for Schools platform, the message of a healthy lifestyle has been and continues to be incorporated within the curriculum,” said Andrew Massey, FIFA’s Director of Medical. “The mutual benefits between promoting football globally and the health benefits of participation work so well within this project. Educating children on healthy lifestyles, both mental and physical health, is the foundation upon which medical strategies should be based in every country. Making children aware of these strategies in a fun learning environment is a fantastic way to encourage participation.”

F4S will ensure that this principle becomes best-practice in Vietnam, and all over the world.

Football for Schools