Wednesday 26 January 2022, 07:00

Next 90 programme kicks off with 35 ex-internationals

  • First online session held on Tuesday

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives a welcome speech

  • Featuring seven modules, the programme will come to a close this December

The 35 participants in The Next 90 educational programme gathered on Tuesday for the first online session in a course that will run for the next ten months.

The programme began with a welcome speech from FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “Thank you for being here with us, for embracing this project, and for taking part in such an exciting adventure: The Next 90,” the FIFA President began by saying to the participants.

The programme, which aims to provide former female and male footballers with the skills, tools and confidence they need to succeed in the next stages of their lives, after they have hung up their boots, is organised by the FIFA Legends and their partner, the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES).

A special role in society

“When we come to the end of our careers, we become ex-teachers or former presidents. But when you retire, you don’t become ex-players as such,” added President Infantino. “You go from being players to legends, which is something unique to football, as you are role models for children around the world and you have a special role to play in society. As FIFA President, I would like to thank you for everything you have done and continue to do in football and for football.

“Today you are embarking on a one-year journey of learning and sharing experiences and knowledge,” he added. “It will help shape and build your next 90 minutes and to have the same impact that you once had on the field of play. This programme is important for us and for your personal development, but it is also important for football as a whole.”

President Infantino also had words for CIES Director Denis Oswald, who also addressed the participants, saying: “Football has to be a sport that is experienced and played all around the world. We still have a lot of work to do to make that a reality.”

Referring to the vital part that the FIFA Legends have to play in developing the sport, the President added: “We need people like you, legends of our game from every corner of the world, to contribute fresh ideas, a professional approach, and the resilience and attitude that allow you to make a real impact.”

A programme with seven modules

Taking a practical approach to learning, this inaugural edition of The Next 90 comprises seven modules and runs for ten months. It will come to an end with an in-person session in December 2022, where the participants will show what they have learned during the programme and will present a final project to mark the start of their second careers.

The Next 90 programme is aimed at former players with at least one international cap to their name and a good command of English, both written and spoken.

Participants from across the world

Some 35 former internationals are taking part in the first edition of The Next 90: 16 of them are women and 19 men. They hail from all over the world, with at least one representative (male and female) per continent.

List of participants:

AKA Margaret (Papua New Guinea), AKIDE Mercy (Nigeria), AL HAMMADI Abdulbaset (United Arab Emirates), ANGEL Juan Pablo (Colombia), BLAKELY Luke (Antigua and Barbuda), BROWN-FINNIS Rachel (England), BYRNE Emma (Republic of Ireland), CAHILL Tim (Australia), CAMPBELL Sol (England), CAPOBIANCO Renata (Brazil), CICHERO Gabriel (Venezuela), FADL Mohamed (Egypt), FAY Gemma (Scotland), GEORGES Laura (France), HENNING Josephine (Germany), HENRIQUEZ Astor (Honduras), HERBERT Ricki (New Zealand), LALAS Alexi (USA), LLOYD Carli (USA), MACHON Martin (Guatemala), MAROTO Norman (Zimbabwe), MELGAR Pablo (Guatemala), MPENZA Mbo (Belgium), O’REILLY Heather (USA), PARANJODY Patrick (Singapore), PARRAGUIRRE Romina (Chile), PEREZ Ricardo (Colombia), REED Douglas (England), SANGALA James (Malawi), SIMIC Julia (Germany), SSENINDE Jean (Uganda), SWESWE Thomas (Zimbabwe), WEN Sun (China PR), YUSUF Ayisat (Nigeria)