Strengthening global ties: cooperation of the Kazakhstan Football Federation with FIFA and UEFA (2022-2023)

Strengthening global ties: cooperation of the Kazakhstan Football Federation with FIFA and UEFA (2022-2023)

16 August 2023, 11:00
The activities of the Kazakhstan Football Federation (KFF) are aimed at close cooperation with the world's largest football organizations - FIFA and UEFA - in order to strengthen friendly ties at the international level and gain valuable experience.

President of the Kazakhstan Football Federation Adlet Barmenkulov in his interview with the KFF press service spoke about the work done jointly with FIFA and UEFA, and also shared his plans for further cooperation with European and international football associations.

- Would you share the details of cooperation with international organizations (FIFA and UEFA). What are the main directions of your joint initiatives?

- Definetely, cooperation with FIFA and UEFA is one of the key elements of the successful development of football in Kazakhstan. These partnerships allow us to share experience and resources. The main areas of cooperation cover the development of infrastructure, grassroots football and improving the competence of football staff. The implementation of these programs requires constant coordinated joint work and a deep understanding of the needs and requirements of all parties. Our joint work with FIFA and UEFA makes it possible to implement the best world practices in Kazakhstani football, ensuring its stable development and success in the international arena.

- How does KFF interact with international partners in the framework of the development of the football infrastructure in Kazakhstan?

– Active cooperation with international partners is extremely important for us. It was within the framework of the Forward and HatTrick programs implemented by FIFA and UEFA that we managed to secure funding for the renovation of 70 football fields in Kazakhstan. These programs are an excellent example of how international cooperation can make a real difference in the development of national football. Following our strategy and the instructions of the Head of State, we have developed a program for the renovation of football fields in the regions of the country, which provides for the installation of modern artificial turf. Aktobe, Shymkent, Almaty, Taldykorgan and Aktau will be the first cities to start implementing this project. But the main thing is that our goal here is not only technical renovation. We see this as an opportunity for further development and promotion of youth and grassroots. This is our contribution to the future of football in Kazakhstan.

- What are the main initiatives implemented by the KFF in the field of grassroots and what is the impact of international cooperation in this area?

- Grassroots football is the heart and soul of our sport. This is the foundation upon which professional football is built, and this is where the journey of every young football player begins. Together with UEFA and other partners, we manage to launch a number of initiatives. This year, for example, we successfully held festivals for girls "My game" in 20 regions of the country, covering more than two thousand young participants. At the same time, physical education teachers were given the opportunity to be trained in football refereeing. In addition, the Playmakers project was launched in partnership with UEFA and Disney, which aims to attract girls to football.

In cooperation with NSPC and UEFA, we also organized final tournaments for school children and college students. This project has affected more than 60 teams and 800 young players. At the beginning of this year, together with UEFA, we held festivals that covered more than a thousand children from orphanages across the country. This program covered 1,154 children from 32 orphanages in 10 regions of Kazakhstan. One of our priorities is inclusion. This year in Almaty, with the support of UEFA, a seminar was held on the development of football for people with special needs. This project is an example of our joint desire to make football accessible to everyone.

- What initiatives and activities were implemented by the KFF as part of educational programs in cooperation with UEFA in 2022-2023?

- During 2022-2023, KFF actively established relations with European national associations in order to exchange experience and improve the skills of our football staff. This cooperation allowed the implementation of the UEFA CFM educational project on sports management. The training covers all aspects of managing football organizations, including finance, marketing and human resources. Lectures are read by UEFA experts and professors from leading European universities.

In 2022, as part of the strategic direction to create an effective interaction environment and the formation of competent specialists, UEFA for the first time entrusted the KFF with the organization of the UEFA STEP educational course. As part of this course, we invited specialists from Central Asian countries. This continued with a meeting of the heads of associations of Turkic-speaking countries in Bishkek, where the possibilities of strengthening cooperation and implementing joint projects were discussed.

In terms of coaching, we have trained 150 UEFA C specialists on a non-reimbursable basis, 24 coaches have been trained in the UEFA B category, and another 18 coaches have been trained in the UEFA PRO category.

–  What would tell about the visit of FIFA President Gianni Infantino to Kazakhstan?

– In May 2023, Kazakhstan hosted FIFA President Gianni Infantino. During the visit, Gianni Infantino met with the Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and discussed key aspects of cooperation with FIFA as well as the prospects for the development of football in Kazakhstan. The FIFA President highly appreciated and supported the initiatives and programs of the KFF. At the same time, Mr. Infantino took an active part in the opening of the girls' school league, emphasizing the importance and priority of the development of women's football.

- What prospects do you see in the further cooperation of KFF with FIFA and UEFA?

- I suppose taht the prospects seem very promising. In 2022, UEFA has already entrusted Kazakhstan with hosting the matches of the 2022/23 European Under-19 Championship qualifying tournament, which was successfully held in Almaty. This confirms our ability to organize high-quality international events.

We are actively striving to strengthen our position in the global football arena. An application has been submitted to host the European Under-19 Championship in 2026/27 with a proposal to organize a tournament in two cities - Almaty and Shymkent. The answer to this question is expected in September this year.

The success in the refereeing under the leadership of Juan Antonio Marin, a Spanish specialist recommended by UEFA. Our referees and delegates are now actively involved in international matches and receive high marks for their work. Particular attention is paid to the development of the national institute of delegates, which is responsible for organizing matches and observing the rules of the competition.

Another vivid illustration of successful cooperation is the inclusion of our representatives in various UEFA committees. Kazakhstani specialists are members of the committee of national associations, futsal and beach soccer, the committee for Fair Play and social responsibility, stadium safety, the committee for the status of players, transfer and match agents.

The confidence given to Kazakhstan by international organizations, integration at the level of social and educational programs, enables our country to actively participate in decision-making at the level of European football.