The origins of the Technical Development Plan date as far back as 1998, when Brian Kerr was appointed by the FAI as Technical Director. At the request of the Association, a major remit for the Technical Director was the formulation of a national plan for the development of soccer, with particular emphasis on the underage game. Prior to completing his term as Technical Director, Brian Kerr made considerable progress and brought the plan to a significant stage of development. This work has now been taken on to completion by the new Technical Director, Packie Bonner. The development of the plan has taken place under the guidance of a Technical Development Plan Working Group. This Committee initially consisted of Brian Kerr, Packie Bonner, Richard Fahy, Noel O’Reilly, Brian McCarthy, Sean McCaffrey,Trevor Lovell, Michael Tattersall and Jimmy McDermott. Dr Pat Duffy, Director of the National Coaching and Training Centre, acted as Chairman of the group and from the outset outlined the need for a core set of principles which would guide the development group in the completion of the plan.
These core principles included;
Consultation The need to consult with all stakeholders in order to ensure that all views are considered and where possible represented in the plan
A people-centred focus The need to concentrate on meeting the needs of all people involved in the game but maintain an ultimate focus on the development of better players.This people centred focus will be based on a fair and ethical approach at all levels of the game; a friendly and cooperative approach from FAI staff; building confidence; willingness to share ideas; hard work; humility and listening
Participation Reinforcement of the principal objective of the FAI, which is to maximise the number of people involved in the game of football in the Republic of Ireland
Excellence The need to support Irish players and teams in reaching their full potential in national and international competition with the support of quality coaching and technical support
Quality A desire to improve and develop the game at all levels
Customer service A desire to improve upon the provision of services and to pass on knowledge and experience which meet the needs of people involved in the game at local, regional and national levels
Social responsibility Realisation of the FAI’s responsibility to provide an alternative lifestyle for young people in disadvantaged areas.
Recognition Recognition of the massive work carried out by volunteers and professionals within the game
Equality To ensure that underdeveloped areas of the game e.g. women, schools, players with disabilities will receive adequate support and services
Sustainability An essential element of development is recognition of the responsibility to sustain the development of the game for future generations
Accountability The achievement of optimum benefit from available resources
Partnership Recognition that the development of the game depends on a partnership approach from all sectors of the game and society
Later, in order to widen the range of views represented at the table the Planning Committee was extended to include Jack Carthy (SFAI), Brian Fitzmorris (SFAI), Niamh O’Donoghue (WFAI), Donal Conway (FAIS), Dennis Cruise (Junior Football), Ian Barclay (Intermediate Football), Brendan Dillon (Eircom League), Pat Kelly (FAI Referees Department), John Delaney (FAI Honorary Treasurer) Gerry McAnaney (Defence Forces),Terry McCauley (Irish Universities) and Des Casey, former FAI Honorary Secretary and UEFA representative. In order to ensure that the Plan addressed the needs of football at all levels, 14 Regional Consultation workshops were organised, with over 1,000 attendees.These workshops sought the views of football people, at grassroots level, on how the game should be developed for the new millennium. (Appendix 1 outlines the venues for the consultation meetings. Appendix 2 provides a list of attendees. The main outcomes/feedback from the workshops is provided in Appendix 3.) The Executive and Board of Management of the FAI were kept appraised of the progress of the Plan at the appropriate stages. Key Committees of the Association were consulted as well as experienced coaches and managers; former national and international level players; regional development officers and coach education personnel. External agencies such as the Irish Sports Council (ISC); the National Coaching and Training Centre (NCTC); educational interests and others were also consulted. A final draft was developed for consideration at a summit of administrators and coaches in January 2004. Following the summit, this draft was subjected to final approval by the FAI Council and Board of Management prior to its publication.