Football Association of Ireland unveils Football Pathways Plan

Football Association of Ireland unveils Football Pathways Plan

The Football Pathways Plan sets out a clear strategy to maximise the potential of Irish football across all levels of the game, ensuring a lifelong love of football and active and rewarding involvement in the game for all

READ THE FULL FOOTBALL PATHWAYS PLAN HERE

· The football pathways plan is based upon a 12-year vision with clear actions in both the short and long-term.

· The strategy has been informed by a deep analysis of benchmarking data, comprehensive research, and a detailed consultation process.

· The three core areas of the strategy focus on Participation, Pathways and Performance.

· The goal is to increase the number and quality of participation experiences for all; to develop clearer, stronger, and more rewarding pathways and to produce players, teams and coaches, at club and country level, for boys and girls, men, and women, that are as successful as they can be.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has today unveiled its Football Pathways Plan, which sets out to enhance all levels of football, from grassroots to national and international, allowing Irish football to reach its fullest potential and to deliver rewarding and high-quality experiences for everyone taking part in the game.

Following an extensive consultation process involving over 11,000 hours of engagement with those involved in the development of Irish football at all levels, coupled with analysis of data to understand how Ireland benchmarks against other footballing nations and sports, and research to understand what best practice looks like, the FAI has developed a plan which sets out a clear roadmap for the long-term development of football in Ireland.

The plan outlines three core areas of focus: Pathways; Participation; and Performance. The goal of which is to increase the number and quality of experiences playing football, to develop clearer, stronger, and more rewarding pathways, and to produce players, teams, and coaches at club and country level that are the best that they can be.

Participation

The Football Pathways Plan sets out to improve participation opportunities through a review of how the game is structured. This will involve creating new games programmes that can align the football calendar from January to December; expanding the Club Mark and League Mark development programmes, and introducing a Club and League playbook, and introducing a Head of Football role in every Club and League; and support to all levels of the game to improve all areas of football governance using our existing eight regions as a base to do this.

Pathways

A clear pathway which aligns closely with the academic calendar, child development and football development will be necessary to encourage individuals to play and participate in football throughout their whole life, involving: an adult football pyramid; a player development charter and new playbook; and an age and stage alignment with education.

Performance

In terms of performance, a new player and coaching ‘game plan’ will be introduced that includes a playing and coaching playbook, alongside new coach development structures and programmes to support. This will allow for the development of a new Irish ID framework and ‘style of play’ that creates a clear playing and coaching framework for all international teams, whilst allowing individual coaches to work creatively with their players within such an overarching approach.

The Football Pathways plan will be delivered through a collaborative and consultative approach, with the FAI committed to listen and gather feedback on all elements of the plan. This will be supported by a clear, active, and effective implementation plan that is measured, evaluated, and monitored on an annual, quarterly, and monthly basis.

Marc Canham, Director of Football for the FAI said: “We are excited to unveil our Football Pathways Plan today, which has been a key priority for us here in the FAI over the 18 months.

“As an organisation, we have engaged in thousands of hours of consultations with the football community in every county in Ireland and we are extremely grateful to all of those who were so generous with their time. Alongside this we analysed benchmarking data and wider research and used this to develop a clear and coherent strategy that sets out our vision for the development of football in Ireland over the next 12 years, and beyond. Through this process, it has become clear that the three key areas of focus needed to be Participation, Pathways, and Performance, in order to set Irish football on the right course for the future.

“Put simply, football in Ireland is not maximising its potential and is not delivering what it could for the country.

“We need to change how we think about the development of football in Ireland. We must think bigger, think differently, and enhance our level of ambition. At a global level, FIFA is placing a big emphasis on player development and providing support to Associations and Federations globally – standing still is not an option and it is imperative we act now. We cannot continue doing what we are currently doing.

"We have the opportunity to come together, think long term about the development of football in Ireland and create a structure, that is regarded as best in class across Europe, and which sets us up for the next 20 years and beyond. This is Irish Football’s plan, and we have a collective responsibility to deliver working together.”

Jonathan Hill, Chief Executive of the FAI said: “In our 2022-2025 strategy, Nurturing Football Pathways for All was one of our key strategic pillars and we are delighted to announce details of our Football Pathways Plan today.

"The plan gives us the opportunity to integrate all levels across the game, from grassroots to national and international, which will allow us to maximise the full potential of Irish football and create something special, serving the here and now and future generations.

"This is the start of the journey. The end destination and overall vision is to implement a strategy that ensures a lifelong love of football, active involvement in the game, and enables us to develop more and better players and world class talent, as well as ensuring that all boys and girls, and all amateur adult players at whatever level enjoy the experience football gives them and encourages them to come back for more.

"I would like to acknowledge Marc Canham and his team for the huge volume of work that has gone into developing this strategy. On behalf of the FAI, I would also like to thank everyone in Irish football who participated in the consultation process, whose contributions and insights are greatly appreciated and whose ongoing collaboration will be key to further shaping and implementing this plan.”

FAI President Paul Cooke remarked: “Our proposed Football Pathways Plan takes a full view of Irish football and its potential for development and is designed to ensure that a clear pathway is in place for all young players, through their teenage years and into their adult lives. The FPP currently under consultation offers Irish football a clear vision so that from the moment our children first kick a ball, there is a place for them to participate and grow their love of the game, across all levels, no matter where they live in the country.

“I firmly believe that this FPP plan we are now consulting with our members on, offers us an opportunity to create better structures by introducing a clearer and more consistent plan across all Irish football, one that is designed to enhance the experience for all our players regardless of their ability or area of focus, from the schools and underage grassroots game through to recreational, amateur, academy and professional football.

“As President of the FAI, I fully endorse this Football Pathways Plan and would urge all involved with Irish football to consult with their members and favorably consider these proposals as we collectively adapt and evolve our approach for the betterment of our game and our players at all levels.”

Tony Keohane, Independent Chair of the FAI said: “Irish football has huge potential for growth. Through the implementation of the Football Pathways Plan, we have the opportunity to enhance the experience for all involved in football, regardless of ability or area of focus, from schools and club, through to recreational football, amateur, academy or professional level. This plan aims to encourage a lifelong love of football for all those who take part.

"We are building from solid foundations – with football already being the most popular and inclusive sport in Ireland, supported by a highly engaged and committed volunteer workforce across parents, players, coaches, match officials, affiliates, leagues, clubs and fans. It is clear from the consultation findings and from the sheer number of people who engaged in the consultation process that there is also a strong shared desire to improve our game at all levels.

"The Board of the FAI is 100% behind Marc on this plan. It is clear what we need to do and the urgency with which we need to do it and he has our full and support as he sets out to deliver it.”

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FAI080-139 WNT Two Match Pack Ireland v Sweden Website 360x275.png

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