16 November 2018 – FIFA manager of Grassroots and Youth Development, Phillip Zimmermann, says the international football governing body is planning to officially launch the FIFA Grassroots Exchange Programme sometime early next year.

These news follow after a very successful pilot run Zimmermann and his team had travelling to five different countries around the globe focusing mainly on football development.

Speaking in Rivonia, Sandton where FIFA in collaboration with SAFA are hosting the FIFA Grassroots Exchange Programme, Zimmermann expressed just how happy he was with the type of response FIFA received from five different countries they have been to this year.

“We have been to five countries this year pushing this project,” Zimmermann said. “We have been to Jamaica, Solomon Islands, Argentina, Thailand and now South Africa. We have compiled several reports for each country we have been to. The plan is to have a proper meeting where we are going to evaluate whether to continue to keep this project regionally, or invite other member associations from different countries. Once this is decided, we will roll out the plan early next year.”

FIFA’s Head of Technical Development Services, Jurg Nepfer, explained what would be discussed in that meeting.

“The meeting we are going to have will see us discussing what some of the improvements we need to make before we proceed with the official launch,” Nepfer said. “The reason for that is we did not have similar type of workshops in the five countries we have been to this year. For example, we focused on youth football when we were in Solomon Islands, while we tackled women’s football during our time in Thailand. We then went to Argentina where focussed Futsal football. We also focused on grassroots football development when we were in Jamaica.

“This programme will officially be launched probably around March or April next year.”