Friday 30 December 2022, 06:00

A year brimming with innovation and technical progress

  • FIFA provided coaching development worldwide with substantial support in 2022

  • Knowledge-sharing was a key part of the initiatives

  • We take a look back at the year’s highlights

As the experts who make up the FIFA Technical Study Group have already pointed out, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ was a showcase for captivating football and great tactical and technical innovations that will be shaping trends for years to come. In line with these observations, it is important for FIFA, in accordance with President Gianni Infantino’s The Vision 2020-23, to bring this technical development not only to major footballing nations, but to all member associations, so that the disparity between different regions of the world can be significantly reduced. For this reason, various activities were conducted throughout 2022 to boost global competitiveness. reviews the constructive events and initiatives that have taken place over the last 365 days.

On 4 February, the ground-breaking FIFA Talent Development Programme was launched with the aim of offering bespoke assistance to member associations, to meet their needs and help them continue to make progress. Over 100 member associations applied for this scheme in 2022, and implementation of its goals will begin in 2023. “One of our over-arching aims is to give every talent a chance,” President Infantino said at the time. “The launching of the FIFA Talent Development Scheme is one of the keys to achieving that objective. It follows on from the ground-breaking analysis of the football talent development ecosystem in over 200 of our member associations and will give boys and girls the chance to maximise their potential.” A number of specific events were also held in different countries around the world. In Brazil, a five-day course involving 21 coaches took place in Teresopolis. “Previously, when we used to compare Brazilian and European football, both on and off the pitch, what stood out was the lack of specific training for our coaches. That eventually led to the creation of the CBF Academy and courses like this one,” explained former Seleção coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.

In the same vein, a project was implemented in the United States to spot and develop talented players, and to facilitate their transition from youth football to the professional game. With this in place, the Stars and Stripes can continue to grow into a leading role on the global stage, where they have previously reached the World Cup quarter-finals and the Copa America semi-finals.

The FIFA Development Programme made similar stop-offs in other countries like Senegal and India, where some of the challenges faced by such a vast and culturally diverse nation were tackled.

But FIFA’s efforts are not only focused on individuals; they also seek to encourage the exchange of knowledge between the various member associations. Seminars were therefore run all over the globe to enable participants to share ideas and discuss best practice on and off the pitch. Morocco, whose team would go on to shine at Qatar 2022, was one of the chosen locations. It provided the stage for discussions related to infrastructure, talent development and proper supervision, aspects which were acknowledged as being vital for a successful outcome. “It’s a huge honour that FIFA has chosen Morocco to organise this workshop,” said FRMF Director of Training Fathi Djamal. “Morocco was selected because of its many facilities and major logistical resources, and because of the excellent reputation it enjoys around the world for organisation. Our country has always led the way in that respect, as a sort of football laboratory, and we can do so again.”

In Costa Rica, meanwhile, the doors were opened to eight member associations from the Concacaf region, who were provided with extensive insight into the critical development areas outlined in FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger’s vision while the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup™ was also being held in the country.

In Dubai, technical experts from all of FIFA's six confederations gathered to learn and share methods to raise standards of coaching development across the world. “It is crucial for FIFA technical experts coming from different confederations and different regions,” said Branimir Ujevic, FIFA's Head of Coaching Development. “They are FIFA’s voice on the pitch when it comes to the development of coach educators, and it is vital for each coach educator to be able to access the FIFA Training Centre platform, where they’ll learn in their own language.” The same seminar was held in Switzerland and in Leeds (England), where FIFA and UEFA joined forces to bring European technical directors together in their first collaborative workshop since 2009. And in Canada, representatives of Concacaf nations met to map out a coaching pathway ahead of the next World Cup in 2026.

However, FIFA's technical development work goes far beyond what happens on the pitch. In Asia, a group of technical leaders gathered in November for a seminar centred on dealing with pressure, stress and anxiety.

Likewise, a workshop for technical directors from Central and South America was run in Honduras, addressing issues related to recent changes in the working world – a topic that extends far beyond football. “The world of work has changed dramatically over the last few years, and it’s no different for Technical Directors working in our Member Associations,” explained FIFA Head of Technical Leadership Jamie Houchen, who oversaw the seminar in San Pedro Sula. “Encouraging the participants to reflect on the trends currently shaping how we work, and what impact that has on their leadership style, has been a rewarding experience.”