Karina Barriga

Understanding the Global Football Development Division at FIFA

· by World Football Summit

Karina Barriga Albring is a member of FIFA’s Global Football Development Division, and in an exclusive interview with WFS Digest, we discussed her career in football development, consulting, and media & communications strategy.

Karina provides insight into her transition from sports communications and PR to working towards football development for FIFA, as well as her involvement in analysing the state of talent development in elite football around the world.

Working in Football Development for FIFA

Karina’s work in football development began with her involvement in Major League Soccer’s international communications team. She worked on promoting and publicising the league and its events, as well as supporting the Mexican national team when they played in the United States. After working in communications and marketing for tech and education industries, she pursued her passion for sports and completed an MBA in Football Industries at the University of Liverpool.

Accessibility is essential for growing the sport, especially women’s football

She explains that her current project involves analyzing the structure of grassroots football in Asia and Oceania. The goal of the project is to understand how different countries develop talent and provide opportunities for players to reach their full potential. This analysis includes parameters such as competition structures, talent identification systems, coaching education and infrastructure resources. The end goal is to provide recommendations for improvement and create a support project to close the gap between well-developed football nations and those that are underperforming.

Her work is essential for the industry because it aims to address some of the most significant challenges faced by football organizations today. From the lack of investment in grassroots football to the underperformance of some football nations, these are crucial issues that need to be addressed to ensure the future of the game. By analyzing the structure of grassroots football in different regions, Karina can develop better policies that enable more children to get involved in the sport and more countries to benefit from it.


The importance of accessibility in football

Karina stresses the importance of accessibility in football development. She explains that football is not just for elite athletes and clubs but belongs to everyone. Keeping people engaged in the game is crucial, and making it accessible to all regardless of social status, financial situation, or region is necessary. She cites Madrid as an excellent example of a region with an incredible number of competitions and places to play.

Football should belong to everyone, not just the elite athletes & clubs of the world

Her insights into the importance of accessibility in football development are particularly valuable in today’s world. With the increasing commercialization of football, it is easy to forget that the game should be played for fun and enjoyment. All too often, the focus is on winning at all costs, which can lead to players being excluded from the game. By emphasizing the importance of accessibility, Karina is helping to ensure that football remains a game for everyone.

She discusses the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which she believes will put significant visibility on the region and motivate countries to invest in women’s sports. She believes that making playing football easier is key to growing the game, especially for women.

In conclusion, football industry leaders should care about projects such as the one Karina is working on because they focus on keeping people in the game and making it accessible to everyone. Accessibility is essential for growing the sport and providing opportunities for players to reach their full potential. Karina’s insights into her career and involvement in football development shed light on the importance of understanding the structure of grassroots football and promoting the essence of football. Her work is a reminder that football is not just a game but a force for positive change in the world.

This article features in the latest edition of WFS Digest, our insider’s guide to the latest and most relevant thoughts and practises from within the football industry. You can subscribe to WFS Digest HERE.