The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) is celebrating the success achieved by the 'charrúa' football. Since its inception in 2016, the FIFA Forward development programme has been one of the cornerstones for achieving AUF's goals.
The administrative, technical and financial support provided by FIFA has enabled this member association to draw up a strategic plan, and to make more professional and drive forward development in the country’s most popular sport, in turn achieving targets in other key areas, such as infrastructure, capacity-building, women’s and youth football, and stadium safety and security.
With regard to infrastructure, FIFA Forward enabled the construction of a new artificial pitch at CA Rentistas' stadium in 2018, increasing the use of the venue from 12 to 50 competitive club matches in the Uruguayan men’s and women’s top flights per season. The ground was also used towards the end of that year for the staging of training sessions for several teams that took part in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018.
In addition, a new floodlighting system was inaugurated in 2018 at Montevideo Wanderers FC’s 'Parque Alfredo Víctor Viera', allowing the stadium to host over 15 night-time fixtures in non-domestic club competitions in 2019 and 2020, facilitating television coverage and consequently the commercialisation of these matches and fan attendance.
The national teams have also benefited significantly from the FIFA Forward funds, which have been used to improve coaching facilities at the 'Complejo Celeste' (the AUF technical centre). Moreover, an extensive support programme for women’s football has been established, with nine professionals hired to offer full-time assistance in the fields of logistics, training and travel, and the launch of a grants programme for training female coaches and players.
Ignacio Alonso – AUF President
“The FIFA Forward Programme is proving to be a key aspect of Uruguayan football development. Not only has it provided financial support, but it has also steered us towards administrative improvements regarding the management of development projects spanning infrastructure, competitions, national teams, women’s football and capacity-building, among others. The AUF is convinced that working with FIFA will guide us to leave an administrative and sporting legacy behind for football in our country.”
FIFA Forward has also contributed to youth football, a linchpin for the game’s growth and the development of the Uruguayan stars of tomorrow, through the creation of the 'Liga de Integración Juvenil' (Youth Integration League), which has the programme’s unwavering support. Thanks to the financial contribution from FIFA since 2017, the AUF has been able to identify talented prospects in competitive club matches featuring players all over the country at U-14 and U-16 level, for example, while furthering knowledge and skills among coaches, administrators and match officials.
Among other initiatives, the AUF has benefited from the FIFA Forward Programme by having video surveillance cameras, as well as an access control system with facial recognition, fitted at the legendary Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, bringing cutting-edge technology to the country’s biggest football arena with the aim of staging safe events for supporters and eradicating violence in the game.
In addition, the programme has enhanced professional football, particularly in terms of clubs affiliated with the AUF, by improving training and matchday facilities after major renovations at Montevideo Wanderers, CA River Plate, Plaza Colonia, Club Nacional de Football, Liverpool FC and Danubio FC.
Victoria Díaz – AUF Executive Director
“Thanks to the FIFA Forward Programme and the unequivocal support from the Member Associations Americas Subdivision and the Regional Development Office in Asunción, we have been able to ensure that our association continues to improve the lives of footballers in Uruguay through the implementation of high-impact development projects. Alongside this support, we have managed to roll out a long-term strategic plan for the AUF focused on the priorities of our sporting landscape and identifying the necessary plans of action to solve the most pressing problems in Uruguayan football.”
Undoubtedly, when the progress in Uruguayan football is observed, the positive results stemming from the implementation of the FIFA Forward development programme can be appreciated, showcasing the range of benefits from its projects that continue to underpin the development and professionalisation of football on the global stage.
Thanks to the support that FIFA offers to its member associations, and the efforts of everyone at the AUF, participants and football fans all over the country – as well as the AUF itself – are able to enjoy widespread improvements to the game, including better facilities.
This has also paved the way for the ongoing execution of short- and long-term plans in order to guarantee football development in every part of the country. In this regard, FIFA is committed to continuing to collaborate closely and efficiently with the AUF through its flagship development programme as part of its quest to achieve the targets set both on and off the pitch.