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Developing football in Portugal

It has been a golden period for the Portuguese Football Federation, but the country has ambitious goals to ensure the legacy of recent success is built upon.


Before the pandemic, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) was looking to increase the number of footballers across the nation to 300,000 by 2024 – almost double the 2012 figure.

However, the events of 2020/21 have caused this goal to be postponed. The federation’s number one priority is now to create the conditions to restore this objective as soon as possible – and it has produced ten action points to that end:

1. Ensure the sustainability of the FPF as a base for building Portuguese football;

2. Ensure the sustainability of FPF members, who are responsible for the normal functioning of Portuguese professional and district football;

3. Safeguard football, futsal and beach soccer teams, at all levels;

4. Maintain the FPF's close connection with international football bodies, namely UEFA and FIFA, where structural decisions will be taken in the coming years that will greatly influence European and world football;

5. Design financially sustainable support programmes for the clubs participating in FPF competitions;

6. Restructure competitive frameworks and adapt the club certification model accordingly;

7. Elevate skills through the Portugal football school;

8. Adjust registration fees, transfers and fines in the most affected competitions;

9. Create a programme to encourage best practice training;

10. Make Channel 11 the flagship instrument to achieve participation.

UEFA support

UEFA’s HatTrick programme, which channels EURO funds into football development across Europe, has helped the FPF create and develop Channel 11, Europe’s first TV channel from a football association, focusing on youth football and women's competitions.

The channel promotes Portuguese football through more than 600 live match broadcasts, with exclusive content and interviews with world-famous Portuguese players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva, João Felix and many others. In addition, the output has a strong social responsibility element and promotes inclusion, diversity and accessibility.

The emphasis is to "promote, protect and develop football", according to the FPF president, Fernando Gomes, with the promotion of women’s, futsal, youth and non-professional leagues a big part of the channel’s remit.

Channel 11 is based in a dedicated building at the state-of-the-art FPF Cidade do Futebol (City of Football) premises, which opened in March 2016. The complex, which was funded in part by UEFA’s HatTrick programme, also houses the FPF’s headquarters and technical centre.

Channel 11 objectives

  • Broadcast 24/7
  • Show men’s and women’s youth national team matches, women’s club football and domestic cup matches
  • Generate online editorial content
  • Allow the FPF to provide an alternative to local sports broadcasters
  • Promote different content angles: debate, discussion, training and education.

UEFA Foundation for Children in Portugal

Set up in 2015, the UEFA Foundation uses football as a vehicle to help improve children’s lives by supporting hundreds of campaigns and projects across Europe and around the world.

Street Football Move

Traditionally, for many children growing up in Portugal – both in rurally and in cities – playing football in the street has been their introduction into the game and where their passion for it is first ignited. However, a variety of factors has reduced this pathway and Street Football Move was launched to reinvigorate its popularity.

The project takes street football in a van to the children of 12 municipalities in the Bragança district in the northeast of Portugal (a total of 4 cities, 12 small towns and 533 villages). The branded van contains equipment including small goals, balls, markers, roll-ups and T-shirts for the players and a sound system.

The main goal of the project is to give children in the region better access to sport, to get them to move more, to be more active, to have more fun, to develop better social skills and to prevent health problems. It is a great way of promoting physical activity, promoting football and helping in children’s education using sport as a tool. It hopes to reach 10,000 participants under the age of 15.


Football history

1888: First recorded football match played in Cascais.
1907: Clube Internacional de Football (CIF) become the first Portuguese team to play abroad, losing to Madrid Football Club.
1914: Portuguese Football Union, now named Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), founded on 31 March.
1921: Portuguese national team make debut in 3-1 loss to Spain on 18 December.
1923: FPF is admitted as a full FIFA member.
1925: National team record their first victory, defeating Italy 1-0.
1934: First edition of a national championship.
1938: First Portuguese Cup.
1961: UEFA European Under-18 Championship final held at SL Benfica's stadium
1967: The same venue hosts the European Champions Clubs' Cup final.
1978: The Portuguese professional football league is founded.
1985: First edition of the women's national football championship.
1992: Lisbon again plays host to a UEFA final, that of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
2003: Portugal hosts the UEFA European Under-17 Championship.
2004: Portugal hosts UEFA EURO 2004.
2005: The UEFA Cup final is held at the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon.
2006: Portugal hosts the European Under-21 Championship finals.
2007: First edition of the Portuguese League Football Cup.
2014: Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica hosts the UEFA Champions League final.
2016: FPF headquarters moves to City of Football in the same year as EURO glory.
2019: Portugal hosts the UEFA Nations League finals with the national team winning the title.
2020: Lisbon plays host to the UEFA Champions League 'final phase' (quarter-finals onwards).
2021: Porto hosts the UEFA Champions League final.

National team competitions

Portugal won their maiden senior crown at EURO 2016
Portugal won their maiden senior crown at EURO 2016©Getty Images

1961: Under-18s win first national team title, defeating Poland 4-0.
1966: Portugal come third at first World Cup, with the tournament's top scorer Eusébio named as its best player.
1984: A first European Championship finals leads to a semi-final appearance in France.
1989: Under-20 team win world title, defeating Nigeria 2-0 while, the same year, the Under-16 title is also picked up against East Germany.
1991: The U-20 team win the title again, this time on home soil against Brazil.
1994: Portugal lose Under-21 final to Italy but win U18 crown against Germany.
1995 & 1996: Portugal win back-to-back U16 titles.
1996: The national team reach the quarter-finals in their second EURO.
1999: Portugal win U18 title against Italy.
2000: The men's senior team reach the semi-finals at EURO 2000.
2001, 2015, 2019:
The beach soccer team win the world title.
2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2019, 2020: The beach soccer team win the European title.
2003: The U16s win the European Championship, defeating Spain in the final.
2004: Portugal are runners-up on home soil to Greece at EURO 2004.
2006: Having played at the 1986 and 2002 World Cups, Portugal finish fourth at their fourth appearance.
2008: A quarter-final appearance for Portugal at EURO 2008.
2012: The women's Under-19s reach the European semi-finals.
2015: The Under-21s are runners-up to Sweden in the European Championships.
2016: Portugal win men's U17 title.
Portugal win first major championship title at EURO 2016.
The senior women’s team make first-ever participation at a UEFA Women’s EURO.
2018: Portugal's futsal team win first European title.
2018: Men's U19s defeat Italy 4-3 to win the European crown.
2019: The senior men's team win the first UEFA Nations League, defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in the Porto final.
2019: Senior women’s futsal team finish runners-up to Spain in European Championship.

Fernando Gomes
Fernando Gomes©UEFA


Fernando Gomes

Nationality: Portuguese
Date of birth: 21 February 1952
Association president since: 2011

Teresa Romão
Teresa RomãoFPF

General secretary

Teresa Romão

Nationality: Portuguese
Date of birth: 24 May 1979
Association general secretary since: 2022

Portuguese Football Federation website