Application process and sample innovation journey
Being a member of the FIFA Innovation Programme. The FIFA Innovation Programme is the structured vehicle for FIFA to engage with companies whose products show merit in solving one of football’s pressing problems but, for whatever reason, are currently not in a position to be used in the game.
Such companies can apply to become a member of the FIFA Innovation Programme, through which they will be given the opportunity to demonstrate the value of the product in a controlled environment for a period of up to 24 months. Note that each application must be backed by a competition organiser willing to host this new product for the duration of the Innovation Project.
Step 1: Application
The application process is open to any company or entity (subject to compliance checks) offering a solution to one of the challenges that has been listed by FIFA on the website. Any provider submitting a product for inclusion in the FIFA Innovation Programme must apply through a standardised form including all details of the product and outlining the specifications below, as well as information on the company required for FIFA to carry out its due diligence.
Step 2: Review of application, demonstration & agreement on Project Charter
Once FIFA receives an application, it will be reviewed for merit and checked against the proposed challenges, and a due-diligence process will be conducted on the information provided and the company. Proposals can be rejected outright, rejected with the option to resubmit or accepted.
Should the proposal have merit, a kick-off meeting (in-person or virtual) will be organised that should include a demonstration of the product and set out the terms of the Innovation Project, for which a clear, mutually agreed Project Charter is required as part of the agreement to be signed between the applicant and FIFA. This Project Charter, inter alia, outlines:
- What problem is the product solving? Which of the posted challenges is/are being met?
- Scope: demonstrate what direct or indirect value to teams, players or fans is created in terms of improving the game or the football experience. A proposal on how this should be assessed is expected from the provider.
- Working product: a demonstration (prototype acceptable) is a prerequisite for admission to the FIFA Innovation Programme, with product maturity required during the project period (up to two years).
- Supporting competition organiser: the applicant must have confirmation from a team and/or competition organiser willing to host a trial of the product within the time frame of the Innovation Project.
- Controlled trials and monitored experiments: depending on the maturity of the product, a phase of controlled trials may be required before a mandatory experimental phase whose scope, duration and location shall be defined.
- Independent assessment: the provider must submit a proposal on how the product’s merit can be quantified and independently assessed in relation to value added and safety aspects (if applicable).
- Timeline: the project’s duration may not exceed two years.
- Format of reporting final results at the end of the project.
Step 3: Membership of the FIFA Innovation Programme
Upon signature of the contract, the designated product will be listed on the FIFA Innovation Programme’s website through a comprehensive (equivalent of one page) standard template describing the product as well as the project and, importantly, the objective thereof. Regular updates are required on a defined basis, with intermediate results and milestones needing to be met by the member.
During membership, the company is entitled to use the mark and official designation “Member of the FIFA Innovation Programme” to refer to the project in question (and only that project) as a means of informing stakeholders of the nature of the ongoing controlled experiments.
Step 4: Project completion, results and publication
Unlike many other such schemes, the FIFA Innovation Programme requires a clear outcome from this two-year period and will not be renewed or extended unless extraordinary circumstances require it. The results of the independent studies and the experimental trials will be used to determine whether the product will be approved for use in football. While the outcome of each Innovation Project will be “approved for use without restrictions”, “approved with restrictions” or “not approved”, the impact can look different depending on the product and the nature of the innovation:
- The Laws of the Game could be amended to allow specific products to be used.
- A product could be incorporated into an existing FIFA Quality Programme.
- A new FIFA Quality Programme could be established covering the new product.
- Where neither the Laws of the Game nor a FIFA Quality Programme apply, other regulations may govern the use of the innovation.
- Where no regulations exist, FIFA may choose another form to communicate the approval of a type of new technology (i.e. publication in non-binding stadium handbooks or best practice guides).
In any case, the provider must agree to the outcome of the Innovation Project (“approved for use without restrictions”, “approved with restrictions”, or “not approved”) being published on the FIFA Innovation Programme website and remaining in an archive.
APPLY HERE to the FIFA Innovation Programme.