Press Releases ● Oct 01, 2013

Signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and the French Football Federation (FFF)

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SINGAPORE, 1 OCTOBER 2013: The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is pleased to announce that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the French Football Federation (FFF) in a ceremony held on 1 October at 11 am at Jalan Besar Stadium. A delegation from FFF led by its Vice President, Mr Bernard Desumer, represented FFF in this momentous signing ceremony with Mr Zainudin Nordin representing FAS.

The ceremony was graced by representatives from FFF, FAS’ senior management and S.League Club Chairmen, and attended by members of the media for whom news of the signing has attracted substantial interest in the local football fraternity.

Witnessed by Mr Winston Lee, General Secretary of FAS and Mr Alain Casteran, FFF Head of International Relations, the ceremony was completed and followed by an exchange of the Singapore and French National Team jerseys between Mr Zainudin Mr Lee, FAS, Mr Desumer, and Mr Casteran.

The Memorandum will enable both parties to establish a platform for effective co-operation and reciprocal exchanges of information and expertise aimed at promoting the development of football in both countries. Under the terms of the agreement, FAS and FFF will work together to determine and organise a series of regular exchanges and training sessions involving coaches and instructors, referees and youth players.

FAS and FFF will also facilitate a continuous exchange of information to promote football and encourage increased participation in the sport. This involves developing all forms of football and improving all aspects of the administration and management of football and its training, including medical matters, IT issues and marketing aspects.

France is the leading country in Europe in terms of their development programmes, with the highest foreign players import in Europe. The FFF has set up numerous football youth academies around the country, the most prominent is the world-renowned Claire Fontaine Academy, with an illustrious record in both international youth competitions and in producing world class players, with the likes of Thierry Henry and Nicholas Anelka, amongst many others.

These 15 youth academies or “mini” Clairefontaines work with players in the Under-14 and Under-15 age groups, taking in 20-30 players every year and the results were stunning: 200 youth academy graduates starting with 36 professional clubs’ academies. 80 of the 200 became professional players who played league matches in Spain, England, Italy and Germany, the highest number by a European country.

On the national level, all players called up for the national team are required to have been a part of the Under-21 team as part of their youth development programme. Most recently, France won the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and were also finalists at the 2013 UEFA European Under-19 Championships, a further testament that FFF’s youth development programmes are among the best in the world. At the senior level,¬†France was one of the four teams that participated in the inaugural 1930 World Cup, and they won the 1998 edition of the World Cup. The French women’s national team is one of the most consistent in Europe, having qualified for their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2003 and reaching the quarter-finals in two of the three European Championships held since 2000.

We are very excited to sign a memorandum of understanding with the French Football Federation and getting the opportunity to work closely in tandem with the one of the strongest football leagues in Europe whose success is built on a sustainable, and well developed youth advancement programme – a viewpoint that was reiterated by Mr Zainudin Nordin, President , FAS.

Mr Zainudin explained: “We are absolutely delighted to have signed this MOU with the French Football Federation, whose national team has been consistently ranked among the top 10 in Europe over the past decade. FFF is renowned for its elite academies which have over the years produced many world-class players and we are confident that we can leverage on its expertise and bring our youth development structure to the next level. The partnership with FFF will enhance the skills and knowledge of our coaching and refereeing personnel among others through courses, clinics, seminars and attachments, and will also go a long way in boosting our efforts targeted at the development of our youth footballers. The signing of this MOU is in line with our Strategic Plan 2010-2015 which outlines our objective to bring Singapore football to the next level.”

Mr Zainudin added: “I would also like to express my gratitude to Mr Bernard Desumer and his officials from the FFF for taking time to attend today’s press conference. There are exciting times ahead for Singapore football, both at national and club level, and we look forward to working closely with FFF in the mutual exchange of information, know-how and expertise in key footballing areas as we seek to support each other’s objectives.”

Mr Desumer agreed, saying: “We are delighted to be working with one of Asia’s best football administrators in FAS. The FAS has a comprehensive youth development structure, which has seen them earn praise from FIFA for having achieved much despite operating on a much smaller budget as compared to other countries in this region. We are also glad to note that the FAS are in the midst of implementing the second half of the Strategic Plan, which if implemented fully, will have a wide-ranging impact on both sports and football in Singapore. Hence, it is vital for FAS to secure the full support of its key partners and sponsors in order to maximise the benefits of the programmes and initiatives as spelt out in the Strategic Plan.

“We hope that the signing of MOU today with FAS will lead us to foster a holistic and fruitful partnership, and we are looking forward to do our part in helping Singapore bring the quality of football to the next level. We strongly aspire and look forward to facilitate exchanges between Singapore and France through training sessions, and we aim to contribute to the further growth of Singapore football by working with them to improve and upgrade the skills of their coaches and trainers, referees and most importantly, develop their youth players for international standards.”

Information and details of initiatives from this MOU will be announced at a later date.