Moldova celebrates 30 years of progress

The Football Association of Moldova (FMF) was founded on 14 April 1990. The latest edition of UEFA Direct looks at the country's footballing development over three decades.

Moldova's national team line up before a recent international
Moldova's national team line up before a recent international UEFA via Getty Images

The first president of the FMF was Grigore Cușnir, with the association’s initial offices being located in Chișinău city centre, at 73 Bulevardul Ștefan cel Mare și Sfînt. Since 1998, the FMF has had its own headquarters, located at 39 Strada Tricolorului.

The association has been a member of UEFA since 10 February 1993 and a member of FIFA since 1994. Leonid Oleinicenco is the current president of the FMF, having been elected in 2019.

“Thank you for your commitment and faithful dedication to Moldovan football, for every minute, hour and day of your life you are giving to this phenomenon, which is a fundamental element in our society,” said the FMF president in his message to the football community in Moldova.

FMF

Football is the most popular participation and spectator sport in Moldova, at both amateur and professional levels. The country has also enjoyed some success on the football field. The men’s national Under-17 team reached the final tournament of the European Under-17 Championship in 2002, while FC Sheriff have played four times in the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Valuable UEFA support

Over the years, and with support from UEFA and FIFA, the FMF has invested a lot of money in expanding its sports facilities – the technical centre for the national teams in Vadul lui Vodă and the futsal arena in Ciorescu, not to mention more than 500 football pitches and mini-pitches all around the country. The FMF is also investing in coach education and other technical areas in a campaign designed to take the country's football forward in the future. Every year, the association hosts different European youth and futsal qualifying mini-tournaments.

Another major undertaking is the FMF’s football in schools project – the largest social sport project in Moldova. The first two stages – football in kindergartens and physical education through football – have already been implemented and continue to be implemented in schools across the country, with the direct support of the ministry of education, culture and research. The third stage – the creation of specialised football classes in schools – is the next major step and objective, which the FMF plans to achieve this year.

Planning for the future, the FMF has launched its strategy for the development of Moldovan football. The association will focus on four main areas in the 2020–24 period: grassroots football, the national team, the national division and women's football.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the association, the FMF website and social media channels posted stories every day for a week about the achievements of Moldovan football during the past 30 years. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the anniversary celebrations have been postponed until the end of the year.

This article originally appeared in UEFA Direct No 191