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Chapter 1: Role and responsibilities of the technical director

1.1 What is the role of the technical director?

The technical director, sometimes also called a director of technical development or a sports director, is the person in charge of defining and leading the national technical development programmes, therefore preparing the football of the future. He proposes to the general secretary, the president and possibly the executive committee (ExCo) a long-term vision and develops a technical strategy over several years in order to improve the level of the game within the country and achieve identified targets on and off the pitch. He and his departement are likewise in charge of the implementation of all activities related to technical development, as well as the control, monitoring and assessment. In other words, he is for the technical side what the general secretary is for the management side.

Among the many domains that will be analysed in this handbook – particularly in Part 7 – the technical director has a number of key responsibilities for both men’s and women’s football:


Mass football

  •  Encourages the expansion of football and promotes the practice of football by as many people as possible (from grassroots to elite for men and women)
  •  Acts as a vector for football’s educational values
  • Encourages the expansion of women’s football, beach soccer and futsal
  •  Adapts the forms of organisation of competitions to age

categories, time of the season, sporting infrastructure, skill levels,


Coach education
  • Organises courses for coaches and instructors
  •  Defines a coach licensing system (Pro, A, B, C, D) in line with the needs of the association and the parameters set forth by the confederation
  • Makes sure that clubs observe their obligation to use qualified/ certified coaches (linked to the MA’s club licensing system)
Elite football (men and women)
  • Prepares the future of national football and works to improve the standard of play in national competitions (senior and youth)
  • Reinforces the competitiveness of youth national teams 
  •  Helps to identify, train and protect talented young players 
  •  Assists with setting up training camps for the various youth national teams
  •  Provides input for club competition rules (foreign players, young players, format of the competition, number of teams, etc.)
Research and documentation
  • Promotes technical analysis at various levels
  •  Gathers and manages as much information as possible on developments in football
  •  Studies major competitions and organises thematic seminars
  • Produces documents on technical issues and audiovisual presentations
  •  Sets up a documentation centre and audiovisual service

1.2 The technical director’s profile

  • Experience as a football player (not necessarily at the highest national level)
  • Experience as a coach and a instructor
  • Relevant football and sport qualifications (e.g. national or international coaching licence, university degree in relevant field)
  • Recognition/acceptance by the national football stakeholders
  •  Leadership, strategic and networking skills
  •  Analytical skills (both concerning the game and the football environment in general): ability to define and develop the technical strategy
  •  Recognition as a reference for coaches and instructors 
  • Communication skills that enable him to convince the key football stakeholders of the quality of his project
Organisational skills
  • Organisational capacities that enable him to implement a complex set of programmes nationwide
  • Reports on activities and financial accountability
  • Managerial skills and experience enabling him to coordinate, motivate and supervise the technical staff, including those who work in the regional branches

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1.3 The importance of a long-term development plan

As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the technical director must produce a long-term vision starting from the reality of the football of the country. This implies both a sense of purpose (reach for the sky) and a very realistic approach (feet well planted on the ground). It also implies the understanding of all interconnected variables that are related to football development.


For instance, everybody knows that youth football is an essential component for any long-term development plan, because the

talented young players of today will be the top players of tomorrow. However, if we focus our attention on just one youth league – for instance a U-17 competition – we will soon realise that this, in itself, is not sufficient. To understand it, one can simply answer the following questions:

- Where will the players come from?

- Who will recruit and select them?

- Where will they play once they turn 18?

- Who will be in charge of coaching them?

- Are the coaches qualified?

- Are there sufficient instructors to provide coaches with the right training?

- Are there clubs that can provide the right framework for the players to evolve in the ideal way?

- Who will ensure that there is no age cheating?


These are just some of the many variables that have to be taken into account when developing the vision of the future and that will help us understand the need to build a competition’s structure that enables the gradual development of the players (U-15 and below, starting from grassroots) and the possibility for them to evolve towards the elite in a controlled environment (U-19 and above). A long-term development plan is therefore an integrated set of activities that follow a coherent approach and reinforce each other over a long period. As we will see in Parts 5-8, in order to achieve long-term development, this handbook proposes a methodology based on the project cycle composed of four phases: analysis, strategy, implementation and monitoring.


It is, however, important that during the definition of priorities and the specific approaches to be adopted, the technical director always keeps in mind the complex interplay of factors that constitute the basis for football development. Like in the solution of a puzzle, it is not on important to put two pieces together, but also to understand their place in the general picture. The graphical representation below is a simplified description of the logical links that exist between different football levels.

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It takes all these pieces (and many more) to achieve a coherent development framework. The long-term development plan will identify the way in which the different steps can be achieved and be mutually reinforced. For more information on the strategic approach, please refer to Part 6.

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