Speech by Mr Zainudin at the MOU Signing Ceremony between FAS and FFF
PRESS CONFERENCE FOR FFF-FAS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (mou) SIGNING
Tuesday, 1 OCTOBER 2013, 11.00Am
VIP LOUNGE, LEVEL 3, JALAN BESAR STADIUM
Speech by Mr ZAINUDIN NORDIN
President, FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE
Mr Bernard Desumer
Mr Alain Casteran
Head of International Relations
Mr François Blaquart
National Technical Director
Ms Laurence Beau
Deputy Head of Mission
Embassy of France to Singapore
Mr Winston Lee
Football Association of Singapore
Distinguished Guests and Friends from the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. A very good morning to all of you. First of all, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Mr Bernard Desumer, Vice President of the French Football Federation (FFF), and the delegation of FFF Officials, to Singapore.
2. The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is delighted, humbled and privileged to have this opportunity to embark on a landmark football partnership with one of the world’s leading football federations, the French Football Federation.
3. We will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the FFF in a short while, which I believe will be a significant boost to our existing footballing programmes and initiatives. Thank you for being with us on this momentous and significant occasion.
France’s successes both on and off-the-pitch
4. Before I go into detail about the MOU, I believe it is important to acknowledge the successes that this great footballing nation has amassed over the years. The French are well-renowned for their football development – Le Centre Technique National Fernand Sastre, or better known as the Clairefontaine Technical Centre is a perfect example – 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.
5. Most recently, the French Under-20 team won the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup whilst their Under-19 team were runners-up at the 2013 UEFA European Under-19 Championships, another indication of their excellence in youth development. France is also the only side to have won all five 11-a-side men's titles: the FIFA World Cup, FIFA Confederations Cup, Under-20 and Under-17 World Cups, and the Olympics. They have not only excelled in men’s football, for the French women’s team also lifted the 2012 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup.
6. In the last 20 years, France has also played host to many large-scale international football events: the UEFA European Under-21 Championships in 1994, the UEFA European Under-19 Championships in 1996 and 2010 (in which they emerged as Champions), the memorable FIFA World Cup in 1998, and also the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. France will also be hosting the 2016 UEFA European Championships. As part of their preparations to host the Championships, four new venues will be built. These are exciting times for French football, and we are delighted to be witnessing it as a close affiliate.
Partnership is in line with FAS Strategic Plan
7. We have always been guided by the Strategic Plan and the signing of this MOU will allow us to fulfil some of the objectives that were set in the plan. These include enhancing the capabilities of our players and coaches, by sending them on overseas stints to learn and adopt the best practices of leading football nations, on top of footballing programmes and initiatives. We also seek to further enhance the marketing appeal of Singapore football and develop more commercial opportunities, so as to further raise the profile and increase the brand equity of our game.
Objectives of Partnership
8. As we officially put pen to paper on this MOU today, we hope to open up additional opportunities for all members of the FAS family. This partnership will provide FAS a platform to learn and exchange expertise and information with FFF and share the best practices in the development of football, particularly in the area of youth development, as well as coach and referee education so as to further enhance our existing development programmes.
9. In addition, this partnership will also enable FAS to tap on the expertise of the FFF in the areas of administration and management. I will now touch on a few key aspects of this partnership.
Youth Exchange Programmes
10. As I have always iterated, youth development is a key aspect of the Strategic Plan and we are making great efforts to ensure the holistic development of the future leaders of Singapore football. This partnership with the FFF will also seek to provide opportunities for our talented young players to train at the Clairefountaine Technical Centre, which as earlier mentioned, has produced some of the world’s greatest footballing legends. We hope that our players will benefit greatly from this exchange. We had recently sent our NFA Under-17 team for a training stint to FC Metz. Our players, as well as our Technical Director, Slobodan Pavkovic, gave rave reviews on the merits of the French football system.
Training and Exchange Programmes
11. We are happy to note that our partners at the FFF share our vision of the importance of providing adequate training to coaches, who play an integral role in the development of players. To iterate their commitment to the cause, the FFF had already arranged a coaching course for our coaches and trainers led by Mr Frederic Lipka. We hope that our coaches will also be able to inspire Mr Lipka whilst receiving advice and guidance from him. Our coaches and trainers can also look forward to benefitting from high-level technical training sessions that FFF organises at the Clairefontaine Technical Centre. They will also be given the opportunity to benefit from language training should they be involved in a long-term exchange programme. Learning French will open up endless possibilities for our coaches, I had similarly benefitted greatly having spent years learning the language.
12. Our match officials will also stand to benefit from this partnership with FFF. We have in recent times seen outstanding match officials who have done Singapore proud such as Ms. Abirami Naidu who last year became the first Singapore female referee to officiate at the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, which also saw her officiate in key matches such as the Group D clash between Germany and eventual champions USA, as well as the first quarter-final match between Nigeria and Mexico.
13. Three of our match officials, namely Referee Mohd Irwan Samsudin, 30, assistant referees Muhd Syarqawi Bin Buhari, 22 and Nathan Chan Rong De, 21 as well as referee instructor John Chia, 50, were selected to attend the prestigious Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) programme, which is managed at the Colovray Sports Centre opposite UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon. They will be travelling to Switzerland to embark on the second phase of this course, which will be held in this month of October.
14. To date, almost 300 referees and assistant referees have attended the CORE courses, and more than 60 have already been promoted to the FIFA international lists. The CORE programme is an introductory course for promising young match officials, conducted with the aim of developing the skills and fitness of European international referees of the future. UEFA, for the first time, extended an invitation to the FAS to send our match officials for this programme earlier this year.
15. We hope to grow the pool of FIFA-accredited referees as Singapore continues to make waves in the footballing world. With this partnership, our match officials can look forward to attending refereeing seminars and training sessions organised by the FFF which I am certain will benefit their development greatly, in line with our Referees Development Pathway. We hope that both FFF and FAS will benefit from an exchange of ideas between French and Singapore match officials.
Tap on FFF’s football administration expertise
16. Further, this partnership with the FFF will benefit both parties not just from the technical aspect, but also, from a football administration viewpoint as both parties work closely to develop ways of promoting the development of football in both countries. We hope to improve all aspects of the administration and management of football and football training, including medical matters, Information Technology and Marketing. We also believe that we will especially benefit in terms of encouraging participation in the sport, both from spectator and player viewpoints. We want to take this opportunity to share that an information exchange session, to be led by the FFF’s Head of Competitions, has been organised for the administrators of S.League clubs and FAS officials. We are certain that this session will benefit both parties greatly as we seek to further improve our systems and processes to ensure the continued development of Singapore football in all aspects.
17. France has an illustrious footballing history, and we too will strive to achieve footballing excellence for our nation. As mentioned earlier, France is equipped with vast experience hosting various footballing events and this experience is definitely something that we can tap on, as we seek to mount our own historic bid for the Youth World Cup in the near future which I am certain will rally the whole nation as one.
18. We have exciting times ahead of us with the signing of this memorandum, and we look forward to sharing it with all Singaporeans. While we are encouraged by the positive feedback on our policy in terms of developing young players by Mr Denis Schaeffer, Youth Academy Director of FC Metz, as well as FIFA’s positive assessment on our implementation of the FAS Strategic Plan, there remains much hard work ahead. I would also like to take this opportunity to call upon our stakeholders to continue to work with us to further raise the profile of football in Singapore.
19. Once again, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to Mr Desumer and his delegation for taking time out to travel to Singapore to be here today to sign this important memorandum. We hope that this partnership will not only benefit Singapore football, but also help to forge closer ties between the two countries.
20. We look forward to a long and fruitful alliance between both sides.
21. On this note, I wish everyone a pleasant day ahead.
22. Thank you.