National authorities are crucial to the implementation and sustainability of the F4S programme, in terms of providing authorisation, planning, coordination and administrative support in their region. Member associations (MAs) need to secure authorisation and cooperation from the relevant authorities before proceeding with the programme. National authorities will also be central to ensuring that national policies (e.g. child safeguarding, inclusion) are followed and that links are made to existing national programmes.
National authorities may include relevant ministries and departments, and other public functions, while provincial or local authorities may also be involved. It is noted that the composition of such authorities may vary across countries.
Key authorities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Ministry of Education (MoE) – responsible for public primary and secondary education. This usually includes the responsibility of ensuring physical education, sport and recreation at schools. MoE is also responsible for school safeguarding policies and codes of conduct.
- Ministry of Health – responsible for health policies and projects, including physical activity.
- Ministry of Sport – responsible for sporting outputs, working closely with federations and Olympic committees. May also be in charge of physical education and involved in school sport programmes.
- Customs authorities – responsible for facilitating the import of the Adidas material provided as part of the F4S programme.
- Functions or ministries related to Youth and Children, Gender, Disability, Culture, etc.
While the scenario for F4S management may vary by country, public authorities should play a leading role, alongside MAs and other relevant stakeholders. At a national level, it is important for stakeholders to reach a formal agreement with regard to the programme before it is rolled out, including the processes for training, selecting schools and targets, implementation and M&E. It is recommended that a F4S national steering group (or management committee) is established at national level to manage and guide the programme in their respective country. This is a crucial step that needs to occur before national training of trainer events are held in a country.
What is a national steering group?
The national steering group (NSG) is responsible for the governance and management of the F4S programme within its territory. This includes the adaptation, delivery and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the programme. The NSG is ideally constituted as early as possible before submitting an official application to join the F4S programme. It is crucial for the NSG to reach a formal agreement before the programme is rolled out, including the processes for different levels of training, selecting schools and setting overall programme targets, implementation, M&E and administrative support.
The NSG should comprise officials from the FIFA member association (MA) and the relevant ministry or public authority (in many cases this will likely be the Ministry of Education). This will include the designation of national F4S focal points (ideally at least one from an MA and one from a relevant ministry) who will attend a regional workshop. One of the focal points should be committed to take on the role of National Training Coordinator (NTC) who will oversee the roll out of national/local training of trainers in the territory. Other focal points may share responsibility for the governance and administration of the programme and may include other stakeholders.
A draft terms of reference (ToR) to guide the work of a national steering group can be provided to interested parties.
National authorities have the following responsibilities:
- Identify provinces/districts/schools to be involved in the implementation of the F4S programme and manage applications by schools desiring to take part in the programme.
- Facilitate access to schools (e.g. prepare letters, ensure they are signed by the right person within the ministry, assist with communication with schools).
- Work with the MA to ensure ministry-endorsed protocols and policies are adhered to (e.g. child safeguarding, inclusion etc.) and national safeguarding protocols are adhered to.
- Facilitate the import of F4S material and its (safe and complete) distribution to the schools with the relevant logistics partner.
- Work closely with the MA to adapt training plan and tools and rollout training of educators.
- Work closely with the MA to follow up with and monitor implementation.
- Maintain strong awareness of the F4S programme within the MoE.
- Actively look for links between F4S and other government initiatives.
The F4S programme aims to promote and facilitate cooperation between government authorities, member associations and participating schools with a view to establishing an effective partnership.