How it works

FIFA’s Grassroots programme differs to other football development programmes in that its organisational framework offers a great deal of flexibility. There are, however, major guidelines that do need to be followed, and it is in these areas that FIFA can lend valuable support.

The first phase: analysis on the ground
The successful implementation of Grassroots initiatives is dependent on an accurate appraisal of the situation on the ground, an evaluation of the country data and an assessment of local needs. This work, which is carried out by FIFA in conjunction with the national football associations, is essential to the success of all Grassroots programmes.

This initial phase allows the programme objectives to be put into a local context and to tailor resources so that these goals can be achieved:

  • To introduce boys and girls (6-12 yrs) to football at a grassroots level
  • To promote the concept of grassroots football
  • To develop grassroots football activities
  • To increase participation in grassroots football
  • To upgrade training and match facilities
  • To train instructors (including women) as coaches/educators
  • To encourage parents and volunteers to take part
  • To forge bonds and create links with all stakeholders
  • To create a “grassroots development structure”
  • To increase visibility and attract interest from the general public
  • To identify sponsors, events, representatives (key figures)

The seminar and the festival
Planning and the identification of key aspects are followed by two essential phases that form a vital part of the Grassroots programme. 

The first is a seminar organised by FIFA and attended by budding coaches/educators. Led by FIFA’s specialist instructors, the seminar provides an opportunity to study every facet of the programme: methodology, knowledge of the specific circumstances of the children taking part in the coaching, safety, technical aspects and small-sided games.

The second phase is the Grassroots Festival, with the emphasis being on the word “festival”. This celebration of football gives each participating team the chance to play the same number of games, which are interspersed with exercises.

The idea behind the Festival is to provide children with a positive experience and to give them all the same opportunity to play, without an overall winner being declared at the end of the day. This is not always possible in tournaments, where teams can be knocked out quickly, denying young players to chance to play and sometimes giving them a negative impression of the game.