SINGAPORE/ZURICH: FIFA has taken a fundamental step towards the implementation of a pioneering global football stakeholder registration programme that will gather data from every corner of the footballing world. FIFA Connect, the first ever initiative aimed at integrating football data from bottom to top, is being released in January 2015 by the first pilot association, Singapore, while Finland and Hong Kong will follow with their own releases later this year.

Connect is the product of a mandate given in December 2011 by the FIFA Executive Committee to set up a worldwide football registration programme to help organise stakeholders around the world. The goals of the programme include the systematic registration of players and other stakeholders, the establishment of information systems standards for the exchange of data across national borders, and the promotion of a more fact-based management of football development activities following a global standard. Connect will also serve to further ensure the protection of minors and the execution of FIFA’s solidarity mechanisms.

“FIFA Connect will allow all of our members to have full visibility on their football landscape, which will have a tremendous impact on their governance, but will also bring benefits on the footballing side – knowing your players better, where they are and who they are, is vital for football development. On a global scale, our objective is to use current technologies to promote and facilitate the systematic exchange of information and knowledge between our 209 Member Associations following a global standard by 2018”, says FIFA Director of Member Associations and Development Thierry Regenass.

The Football Association of Singapore is already benefitting from Connect in ways such as by introducing a central paperless platform for the issuing of player passports and establishing a centralised coaching database.

“FIFA Connect is an excellent way for us to streamline our administrative and organisational processes, and is in line with a key pillar of our Strategic Plan to harness the power of IT to better administer the game. This platform will further enhance our capabilities in organising competitions and also enable us to maintain an accurate, up-to-date database of every person and entity involved in Singapore football”, comments Winston Lee, General Secretary of the Football Association of Singapore.