About Football for Schools
Football for Schools (F4S) is an ambitious programme run by FIFA, in collaboration with UNESCO, which aims to contribute to the education, development and empowerment of around 700 million children. It seeks to make football more accessible to both boys and girls around the world by incorporating football activities into the education system, in partnership with relevant authorities and stakeholders. The programme has been designed to promote targeted life skills and competencies through football and contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other priorities.
The F4S Programme is aligned with global sport, education and health policies, including UNESCO’s Kazan Action Plan, the Education 2030: Incheon Declaration and Framework of Action, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA). The F4S Programme can be used by member associations (MAs) and their governments to further national development priorities.
The programme includes:
a) a free digital application (Football for Schools), accessible via Google Play and the Apple App Store;
b) an online learning platform with relevant content for programme stakeholders;
c) the provision of equipment (including adidas footballs) that will be distributed to schools; and
d) a one-off USD 50,000 payment to each MA to run the programme.
Objectives of the Football for Schools Programme
The F4S Programme seeks to achieve the following four key outcomes:
a) Empower learners (boys and girls) with valuable life skills and competencies
b) Empower and provide coach-educators with the training to deliver sport and life-skills activities
c) Build the capacity of stakeholders (schools, MAs and public authorities) to deliver training in life skills through football
d) Strengthen the cooperation between governments, MAs and participating schools to enable partnerships, alliances and intersectoral collaboration
The F4S Programme is guided by a results-based management framework and theory of change, which assumes that developing intrapersonal, interpersonal and cognitive skills amongst learners, in addition to producing gains in knowledge and positive attitudes, will help them to develop life skills and competencies. If this is done within an enabling, inclusive and caring environment that promotes individual learning and development, along with a combination of football and life skills, the programme has the potential to contribute to individual and community change and consequently to the identified SDGs.
The F4S Programme was launched in mid-2019 with pilot projects in Puerto Rico and Lebanon. The F4S Programme will be re-launched in other regions in 2021 and will run until 2023 at least. A more detailed draft timeline, subject to change, will be circulated in due course.
Schools remain the most effective and efficient avenue in which to engage young people in sport. While FIFA, and its MAs, provide support to countless local associations and clubs that compete in leagues, FIFA, in collaboration with UNESCO, is committed to ensuring that children at school receive opportunities. This is especially important in countries that do not have an effective club structure.
The F4S Programme aims to ensure that football is accessible to all learners, without discrimination. Anyone who wants to play football must know that it is possible to do so through their school or community, using the facilities available in the country. While the main remit of this programme is to support the provision of football coaching and equipment to schools, FIFA encourages its member associations and in-country partners to recognise the importance of engaging with out-of-school youngsters.
Given that many schools lack equipment and qualified personnel to deliver football activities, FIFA will provide equipment (footballs) through its MAs as well as this online learning platform and a mobile application that provides easy-to-use content for training sessions. It is hoped that the platform will help educators, coaches and parents to better support, deliver and manage F4S activities in their schools and communities.
The F4S Programme can enable schools to tackle a range of social issues, while providing an attractive vehicle in which to engage and educate learners, and even motivate educators too.
The F4S Programme is not designed to detract from teaching or classroom time, and it is in fact intended to complement the efforts of educators and advance education outcomes, thus assisting governments. Football is capable of playing a vital role in the education system and acting as a “school of life”.