FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger will visit India from November 19 to 23 to discuss the implementation of FIFA’s talent development initiatives with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and other football organisations.
Mr Wenger will begin his trip in Delhi, where he will meet with the AIFF’s management, before moving on to Odisha and Mumbai to hold discussions with the country’s leading talent identification specialists and clubs, as well as the state associations. The establishment of a future AIFF-FIFA academy in Odisha will be on the agenda, as part of FIFA’s global initiative to establish academies across the world in the coming years.
“We want to gain an insight into the current talent pathway for players in India and how it can be improved and optimised. We will also be exploring whether the global systems of best practice in talent identification can be applied to India”, said Mr Wenger. “In general, I believe that success is linked to education. We want to educate young people in India and give them opportunities through football.”
A key component of FIFA’s long-term commitment to talent development in India will be the deployment of fulltime FIFA Talent Coach Sergi Amezcua. Additionally, FIFA has appointed dedicated High Performance Specialist Ged Roddy to provide day-to-day guidance and expertise on overall planning and implementation of the talent pathway.
Since 2022, FIFA has been running the Talent Development Scheme with the aim to increase the global competitiveness of men’s and women’s national teams. Expanding the youth World Cups and holding them more frequently are cornerstones of this initiative.
There are currently several FIFA Talent Development Scheme projects under development in India, including a number of partnership projects. Under the scheme, FIFA not only offers financial support, but also provides access to expertise and other resources and promotes knowledge exchange. “FIFA is keen to work with the AIFF and clubs to optimise the potential of the Indian national teams for men and women,” he noted.
“How do we roll out the best possible partnership with the AIFF? By giving every Indian player, every boy and girl, the opportunity to be educated and to develop in line with our approach. That’s why I believe that success is linked to the chance to play and to educate yourself. In football, you have to learn early,” said Mr Wenger.
FIFA wants to increase global competitiveness by supporting every member association in reaching its full potential and giving every talent a chance. The focus is on establishing high-performance environments – including through a programme designed to assist member associations such as the AIFF in creating high-quality academies that nurture players with the potential to excel on the international stage.