A concerted drive by the Football Federation of North Macedonia to develop infrastructures and foster talented players is paying handsome dividends. On the field, gradual progress culminated in the national team securing a first-ever major tournament berth at UEFA EURO 2020.
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The Football Federation of North Macedonia has three strategic goals:
- Strengthening good governance principles
- Growing the game – increasing boys’ and girls’ participation
- Improvement of infrastructures
Qualifying for UEFA EURO 2020 is the culmination of a long-term strategic process.
The FFM headquarters complex, which includes a training centre and football academy, has provided improved infrastructures that have acted as a catalyst for progress.
Since introducing a national strategy for football, the academy’s work produced four members of the EURO 2020 squad. In addition, infrastructure improvements have seen the national Under-17 and Under-19 teams reach elite rounds in UEFA youth competitions, while the Under-21 side made their debut in the European Under-21 Championship finals in 2017. Some 60% of those players have gone on to the EURO 2020 team. Improving the capabilities of the coaching personnel through the years has been of considerable significance in achieving this goal.
During the pandemic, the FFM has donated three fully equipped ambulance vehicles to the main hospital in Skopje. Tickets for North Macedonia’s EURO finals matches have been donated to medical staff. Assistance has been given to clubs by paying all of their travel expenses.
Strong emphasis is being placed on increasing boys’ and girls’ participation in football, and a separate strategy is being created for women’s football and its development, as well as for the reinforcement of the country’s elite game. An SROI (social return on investment) model is being implemented to show how football is investing in society in various areas, and the FFM is also seeking third parties to become involved in infrastructure improvements. In addition, efforts are under way to attract players from abroad who have a Macedonian background, and the scouting system is undergoing an overhaul, with the clubs playing a key role in fostering talented players.
The FFM is using UEFA HatTrick investment funding for infrastructure projects.
Construction and reconstruction of five pitches with natural grass and floodlights
The main objective of this project is to improve facilities for the top-division clubs, and to give a further boost to the development of football in the country.
Construction of stands at Cair Stadium in Skopje and Biljanini Izvori Stadium in Ohrid
In 2016, the FFM general assembly approved a ten-year strategic plan (2016–26), with one of the main pillars focusing on infrastructure development. The objective is to have ten category 1 and 2 stadiums across the country to play international and league matches. Part of the plan is also to create cooperation with local governments for the improvement of club infrastructures.
These two stadiums will meet UEFA category 2 standards, and the FFM will use them for international youth matches, tournaments and local championship matches.
On the football social responsibility front, the FFM’s House of Football is equipped with solar panels on its facade for solar energy purposes.
In late 2021, the FFM launched its first women's football strategy following guidance from UEFA, designed to grow the game at all levels.
1912: Emergence of the first football club – FK Vardar from Skopje.
1919: The first official match is played between an English army team and the Skopje youth football team. In 1978, to commemorate the match, a monument is set on the place where the match took place.
1945: Football is represented for the first time in the All-Sports Community in Skopje.
1948: The Macedonian Football Association is created, becoming a member of the larger Yugoslav Football Association (FSJ).
1991: Following the country’s independence, the FFM is founded.
1994: The FFM becomes a member of UEFA and FIFA.
2005: On 7 May, the nation plays its first international women's match.
2011: The new national stadium is opened.
2013: The FFM’s House of Football and first national training centre are inaugurated.
2017: North Macedonia’s capital Skopje hosts the UEFA Super Cup match.
National team competitions
1994: The national team kicks off their first qualifying campaign – for EURO ’96 – with a creditable 1-1 draw against Denmark.
2009: The FFM celebrates 100 years of football activity: the national team plays a high-profile friendly against European champions Spain to mark the occasion.
2017: The Under-21 side becomes the first national team from North Macedonia to qualify for a major tournament when they reach the European Under-21 final round in Poland.
2020: The senior national team reaches their first major international tournament when they qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 via the play-offs, going on to face Austria, Ukraine and the Netherlands in the group stage.
Date of birth: 25 November 1969
Association president since: 2019
Natalia Ilievska Božinovska
Date of birth: 11 September 1984
Association general secretary since: July 2023