Technical development

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The football landscape

Technical develop­ment

3 min. reading time

Democ­ratising develop­ment

FIFA made major progress with a number of initiatives in 2020 aimed at helping to raise technical standards in football across the globe.

MAs’ got talent

The FIFA Talent Development Programme is aimed at giving a chance to every child in the world who wants to play football and help him or her to improve and experience positive emotions.
Arsène Wenger
FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development

Over 200 member associations (MAs) signed up for FIFA’s first-ever Talent Development Programme, setting a new benchmark for technical development initiatives. 

Launched in January 2020 by FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, Arsène Wenger, the programme aims to provide MAs 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,” said Wenger.

“Football has a huge educational responsibility. The FIFA Talent Development Programme is aimed at giving a chance to every child in the world who wants to play football and help him or her to improve and experience positive emotions. I hope the programme can help children to become top-level players, or if not, at least give them the opportunity to follow their dreams and play the game that they love,” concluded Wenger.

FIFA Basic

Spanning ten days of seminars and information sessions, FIFA’s third Quality Programme Conference and Research Symposium focused on the presentation of FIFA Basic, the new quality standard. In line with the FIFA President’s vision of making football truly global, the FIFA Quality Programme team has created a suitable framework for the industry to provide products, playing surfaces and technologies that meet the growing needs of football at all levels. In addition to the well-established “FIFA Quality” and “FIFA Quality Pro” standards, the new FIFA Basic standard emphasises cost efficiency and durability while protecting player safety.

VAR “light” concept taking shape ­

The Working Group for Innovation Excellence embodies the commitment to stay ahead of the curve in a technology sector that is rapidly evolving and part of FIFA’s innovation road map to 2022.

One of its key topics in 2020 was the development of the VAR “light” concept, which aims to create more affordable VAR systems to enable the use of VARs at all levels of the game. 

The working group – which comprises 13 competition organisers experienced in the use of VAR technology – identified variable cost factors and talked about the potential quality decrease and the minimum requirements for such a technology set-up. 

The next development steps for VAR “light” operations were presented at The IFAB’s annual business meeting in 2020 based on tests that had already seen the total number of competitions using VARs grow to 106 worldwide. 

New preparation cycle for FIFA elite referees

Following the success of Russia 2018 and France 2019, a new cycle began for FIFA elite referees. In January, nine female and 17 male referees joined Pierluigi Collina, chairman of FIFA’s Referees Committee, and a team of FIFA instructors in Lisbon.

The programme included theory lessons, fitness sessions and practical exercises, as well as the subject of video assistant referees (VAR). The joint preparation of male and female officials is a further step towards FIFA’s objective of reaching uniformity in refereeing at a high level.

“How do you stay at the top? Hard work – nothing more, nothing less. The new names were able to show how they had improved in all areas of refereeing, to hopefully make the shortlist to officiate matches at the highest level: the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said Collina.