Football: FAS, French federation ink 3-year MOU on development of women's game

(From left) FAS president Lim Kia Tong, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Eric Chua, French Football Federation secretary-general Laura Georges and French Ambassador to Singapore Marc Abensour. PHOTO: FAS

SINGAPORE - In a move to develop the local football scene, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) signed a cooperative agreement with the French Football Federation (FFF) at the Singapore Sports Hub's OCBC Lounge on Saturday (March 26).

Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU), both sides will collaborate on two main areas: women's football development and technical exchange programme over the next three years.

The FFF's secretary-general Laura Georges told The Straits Times on Saturday that the federation will undertake a one-year assessment to understand the local football ecosystem and culture, before implementing any plans.

She said: "It's important to understand the culture. To understand the sports ecosystem in Singapore, how people practise sports, why girls want to go play, how many players there are and what are the goals of the federation...

"For the moment, we won't be able to say this is how we're going to do it, this is the strategy we're going to implement to the federation so we always have this audit phase."

Georges, a former France international who is the country's third-most capped player, is in Singapore for the MOU signing ceremony.

The 37-year-old is a two-time UEFA Women's Champions League winner who plied her trade at top clubs like Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain. She also played in three World Cups for France.

France has established itself as a powerhouse in both men's and women's football globally. Both national teams are ranked third in the world and the men's side are reigning World Cup champions.

As part of the agreement, the FFF will share its technical expertise by providing training courses to technical staff in Singapore, as well as potential exchange and attachment opportunities for coaches, players, football science and medicine personnel.

There will be regular exchanges on footballing matters between both parties in areas like technical development and coach education development.

Georges said: "It's an opportunity to get to have a vision in Asia and to share our expertise with Singapore, which is a country we want to develop. It's an opportunity for both of us to grow our expertise abroad, and also to have an impact in Asia."

Earlier this month, the FAS had announced plans to grow the women's game locally, with initiatives such as a club licensing system for women's amateur clubs, the inclusion of girls' football in the School Football Academy programme as well as all-female Under-12 and U-17 programmes in the ActiveSG Football Academy.

This is not the FFF's first football-related initiative in Singapore. In 2020, the FFF opened the French Football Academy in the Republic. That was also the year that the FFF reached out to the FAS on a potential partnership.

FAS president Lim Kia Tong was pleased with the establishment of the partnership and is keen to tap on the expertise of the FFF.

He said: "The timing has been excellent as well, as the French's expertise in football development, for both men's and women's, will certainly be beneficial as we strive to make progress in line with the objectives of the UTR (Unleash The Roar!) initiative.

"Together with the FFF, we are fully committed to actively cooperating and collaborating on a regular basis across the aspects that are in the agreement and we look forward to embarking on a fruitful relationship."

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