Tuesday 04 July 2023, 09:15

FIFA workshop guides Asian member associations on talent development

  • The first ever FIFA Knowledge Exchange workshop in Asia took place in Osaka, from 7-12 June.

  • FIFA experts shared their experience of elite youth development related to the creation of competitive national teams.

  • Eight FIFA member associations (MAs) from across Asia were present with the objective of creating a strategic plan for their Talent Development Scheme (TDS) projects.

The main goal of FIFA’s Talent Development Scheme (TDS) is to help raise the standards of national-team football around the world for both men and women, driven by a long-term dedication to global talent development. With the FIFA Talent Development Scheme now entering the stage of full implementation, Knowledge Exchange is one of its four pillars. With the support of the Asian Football Confederation and the Japan Football Association, Osaka, Japan was chosen as the host venue of the first-ever FIFA Knowledge Exchange workshop on the Asian continent.

Takeshi Ono, FIFA Technical Expert

From 7-12 June, the workshop brought together eight member associations, namely Japan, Korea Republic, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Hong Kong, and Australia. The aim was primarily to enable key members from each member association to share knowledge, discuss regional challenges, and explore the leadership capabilities required to accelerate the implementation of the Talent Development Scheme. Held once a year in each confederation, these six-day workshops are designed to bring together three key members of staff from each respective member association responsible for the development of elite youth talent: the General Secretary, Technical Director, and Director of High Performance, or the person responsible for youth national teams. The eight member associations are carefully selected through a pre-determined set of criteria.


During the workshop, the delegates discussed and shared their thoughts of what is needed in their country to support the elite youth ecosystem. Both to enhance the competitiveness of their national teams, and to discuss how a well-structured and fully endorsed long-term talent development plan can underpin such success in the future.

What are the key components of an elite development environment? What are the critical success factors of a youth national team programme? How can MAs support the growth of women’s football? How can the MA maximise the TDS and its programmes to support elite youth talent structures?

MA sharing insights

The workshop was designed with five key themes in mind. Talent identification; principles of an effective youth national team programme; how best to engage with academies; implementing a successful education pathway; and the development of Women’s football. Each federation had the opportunity to share insights across these key themes. Australia presented their approach to Talent Identification. Jordan presented how they have maximised insights from their ecosystem analysis. Korea Republic shared their developments in creating a national DNA and Saudi Arabia outlined how they engage with their domestic club academies.

Takeshi Ono, FIFA Technical Expert, Jun Aratani, Director of JFA Technical Dept, Masanaga Kageyama, JFA Director of Youth Development, and Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, Japan FA General Secretary

Jun Aratani, Technical Department Director at the Japan FA, reflected upon the Knowledge Exchange Workshop. “These last six days enabled us to hold up a mirror and see where we currently are, and where we need to improve. The knowledge gained from sharing during the working groups then presented us with a ‘bridge’ of how we can get to where we need to be in the future.”

Arrival of general secretaries enriches the debate

The level of on-field sporting success and long-term sustainability of programmes often hinges on the alignment and collaboration between a member association’s technical team, and the wider business. With that in mind, a key part of the workshop sees FIFA bring together a key leadership triumvirate, to ensure a buy-in for investment in elite youth development. “Introducing ‘leadership capabilities’ into the knowledge exchange enables us to promote the importance and value of Technical Leaders, and equally underline the importance of collaborating closely with Executives within the MA to successfully implement the Talent Development Scheme” said Jamie Houchen, FIFA’s Head of Technical Leadership.

Jamie Houchen, FIFA Head of Technical Leadership

“Aligning a combination of internal and external stakeholders is incredibly important. Only through a strong and collaborative approach, can we truly realise the potential impact of the Talent Development Scheme, and support a member association to create an action plan with bespoke strategic objectives. “Naturally, FIFA’s Technical Leadership team is here to guide each member association, working together to plot how they will operate effectively and efficiently as a leadership team over the next four years, as well as considering the budgetary implications of delivering their next steps" concluded Houchen. FIFA’s wider objective under the tag line of ‘Give every talent a chance’ is to have 150 of its 211 MAs develop a long-term plan by the end of 2023, with each MA having at least one academy, by 2026.