As the debate rages about the role technology should play in match arbitration, one national federation has found that a high-tech approach can give you the edge in the world of professional coaching. In its constant quest to improve player development, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has embraced the latest technology in its highly innovative school of football.

With financial support from the FIFA Goal Programme, the CBF inaugurated the Brazilian School of Football at its sports facility in Granja Comary on 1 February. This is a school with a difference, with all instruction given via the Internet in real time thanks to an On-line Personal Teaching system (Enseñanza Presencial Conectada) developed in conjunction with UNOPAR (the University of North Paraná).

The school's objective is to promote the development of the game by making its training courses and expertise much more widely available. The courses, seminars and conferences will incorporate themes as diverse as technique, tactics, physical preparation and refereeing. The courses will get underway this April and enable a large number of students to participate simultaneously from across the country's 27 states.

Among those attending the presentation of the project earlier this month were the Honorary President of FIFA, João Havelange, the President of the CBF, Ricardo Teixeira, who said the innovative nature of the project was a source of great pride and satisfaction, and FIFA Development Officer Harold Mayne-Nicholls.

Parreira gets the ball rolling
The system that will be used for the courses was aptly demonstrated on the day of the inauguration when national coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, speaking from Londrina, offered his wholehearted support for the initiative to those gathered in Granja Comary.

"Brazilian football leads the way on the playing field, and now it will also do so off the pitch. There is no doubt that this school will help provide better instruction and raise standards among our coaches, trainers and referees," said Parreira. The veteran manager also went on to say he regretted that no such course had been available 38 years ago when he took his first coaching class in Germany.  

The course will help export Brazilian football's technical expertise across the globe, particularly the country's unique sporting culture, the methods used to unearth new talent and the training techniques employed by its teams. Moreover, thanks to the Internet, access to this training will made available on equal terms to thousands of people.
 
According to Parreira, even though the country has "the best football, the best players and other characteristics that give our side the edge in internationals", he feels it "lacks a system to organise and regulate" all these skills. It is hoped that the new school will go a long way to filling this vacuum in the land of the pentacampeo. 

The Brazilian coach did not limit himself to praising the initiative; he also offered to become the first instructor and give a class on "The evolution of football", a review of tactical changes to the game after the modification of the offside rule in 1925.

Fans of the beautiful game should be pleased. It seems Brazilian football is about to get a whole lot better.