Over 200 member associations across all confederations have signed up for FIFA’s first-ever Talent Development Programme, setting a new benchmark for initiatives created by world football’s governing body in the area. The list comprises, among many others, the current men’s and women’s world champions, France and the USA respectively, as well as member associations (MAs) that have never qualified for a FIFA tournament. Launched in January 2020 by FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger, the programme aims to provide member associations with a thorough analysis of their high performance ecosystem in both men’s and women’s football, including all national teams, domestic leagues, scouting projects and academies, in order to ensure that every talented player gets a chance to reach their potential.
“The whole world has signed up for the FIFA Talent Development Programme. We are very proud of the high number of participants and the trust that all member associations have given us. With trust comes responsibility, though: we have to be swift, helpful, knowledgeable and efficient,” said Wenger. “The success of the programme will be based on good communication and a precise analysis of the needs of every member association so that we can deliver a report and provide tailor made support. We also want to create opportunities, for example through best practice models, in which member associations can learn from each other and have the possibility to think outside of the box and their own environment,” he added. As health remains the main priority in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, online tools are set to play a key role in the implementation of the Talent Development Programme.