Programmes to identify and foster Switzerland’s talented young footballers are aimed at maintaining the positive standards set by the men’s and women’s national teams in recent years.
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The Swiss Football Association has set a series of key strategic goals. These include anchoring Swiss football as a pillar of society, in terms of health and integration policy. The promotion of elite young talent and women's football is also high on the agenda. Another major challenge will be to maintain and improve structures after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The association’s drive to promote women’s football is bearing impressive fruit. In 2016, there were 20,000 licensed female footballers. This figure rose to 25,000 in 2020. The women’s national team is proving to be a catalyst, reaching two UEFA Women’s EUROs and a FIFA Women’s World Cup in the past few years.
During the COVID-19 period, the Swiss FA has made an important contribution to creating a spirit of solidarity among the population with targeted campaigns involving not only the Swiss national team, but also local amateur teams.
Football development activities have been crucial in helping the men’s national team qualify for EURO 2020 and other major tournaments for many years now. These activities and the resultant progress have laid the foundations for the team’s success. It has been possible to continually integrate young players into the team, keeping the national team set-up fresh and constantly evolving. The Swiss FA hopes in particular that UEFA EURO 2020 will represent a new beginning after a year of difficulties and restrictions caused by the pandemic.
"We are trying to get young girls interested in football. We have launched programmes across the country and are extremely pleased with the numbers."
Funds from UEFA's HatTrick programme have been invested in the development of young talent and women’s football. With HatTrick support, the Swiss FA is making a significant contribution to social development and progress in Switzerland. The Swiss Football Association has also welcomed the early provision of HatTrick funds during the pandemic, because this has enabled it to continue projects that were already under way.
Recent HatTrick funding
National women's youth football academy
An ongoing project which continues until June 2024. Main objectives:
- Providing the most talented girls aged 13 to 15 with top-class sports-related support.
- Providing the most talented female players with an optimum combination of football, school and personal development.
- On a long-term basis, increasing the competitiveness of the Swiss senior women’s national team.
This project envisages the development of approximately 7–10 talented players (aged 13–15) per age group (in total, approximately, 18–22 players/year). The selected players undertake a training programme focused on technique, tactics, physical condition and speed. Girls also attend state school and follow the school and culture studies programme organised by the town of Biel/Bienne, preparing them for their professional future.
HatTrick V – SFV/ASF performance centres
An ongoing project which continues until 2024. Main objectives:
- Providing the most talented male football players aged 15 to 21 with complete, targeted and optimum development.
- On a mid and long-term basis, improving the competitiveness of the top two Swiss leagues (Super League and Challenge League) and the quality of the Swiss national teams.
The label of SFV/ASF Performance Centre will be given to top clubs that fulfil quality criteria in elite youth football, and the most talented male football players aged 15 to 21 will be developed at those centres. The domains of football, support, academic/professional education and scouting will be linked together into a holistic concept, and players will play matches for clubs that have the label.
UEFA Foundation for Children in Switzerland
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.
Just for Smiles
The aim of the project is to give children with disabilities the greatest possible access to sailing and well-being. Just for Smiles seeks to have a lasting impact on the participants and their independence.
Children are enrolled in a sailing activity to suit their preferences, abilities and needs in terms of motor skills and sensation. They spend a half day laughing and feeling the thrill of being on a lake. This adapted sports activity is particularly useful in the treatment of neurological conditions such as spinal injury, head injury and stroke.
There are over 150,000 children with disabilities in Switzerland. The COVID-19 pandemic has isolated them at home. To help them reintegrate and readjust, Just for Smiles plans to expand its sailing programme to reach more beneficiaries.
National team competitions
Date of birth: 5 December 1949
Association president since: 2019
Date of birth: 22 April 1973
Association general secretary since: October 2018