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Arsene Wenger returns to football as FIFA global development chief

Arsene Wenger returns to football as FIFA global development chief
© Reuters
The former Arsenal boss had been linked with Bayern Munich.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been appointed as FIFA’s new chief of global football development, the world governing body announced on Wednesday.

The 70-year-old, who left the Gunners after 22 years in charge in the summer of 2018, will be chiefly responsible for “overseeing and driving the growth and development of the sport for both men and women around the world”.

FIFA said Wenger will also be the “leading authority on technical matters”.

Arsene Wenger (r) with FIFA president Gianni Infantino
Arsene Wenger (r) with FIFA president Gianni Infantino (FIFA/PA)

Wenger, who had been linked with a return to coaching at Bayern Munich, is relishing the opportunity ahead.

“I very much look forward to taking on this extremely important challenge, not only because I have always been interested in analysing football from a broader perspective but also because FIFA’s mission as world football’s governing body is truly global,” the Frenchman said in a statement.

“I believe that the new FIFA we have seen emerging in recent years has the sport itself at the very heart of its objectives and is determined to develop the game in its many different components.

“I know I can contribute to this objective and will put all my energy into this.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino welcomed Wenger’s appointment.

He said: “Arsene Wenger’s profound knowledge and passion for the different aspects of our game sets him apart as one of the most respected personalities in football.

“I am delighted to welcome him to the team. Since I arrived at FIFA, we have placed football at the centre of our mission, striving to learn from those who know the sport inside out: Arsene is someone who, with his strategic vision, competence and hard work, has dedicated his life to football.

“His arrival is just another example of how we keep strengthening our purpose to bring FIFA back to football and football back to FIFA.”

FIFA revealed Wenger’s role would see him become a member of the football and technical advisory panels involved in the regular reviews by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which sets out potential changes to the laws of the game.

Wenger will also take on chairmanship of the governing body’s Technical Study Group, which has conducted the technical analysis of FIFA tournaments since 1966.

The French coach has been linked with several jobs since leaving Arsenal but said he had turned down offers to work in England because of his long association with the Gunners, where he won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.

It is not clear whether Wenger’s role within FIFA would prevent him from taking up another managerial role.

Speaking at a recent event in London, where he was named a Nordoff Robbins ‘Legend of Football’, Wenger said: “They (FIFA) look for people who have big experience and knowledge of the game who have learned a lot.

“I just want to share what I’ve learned and give it back to the game in a different way.

“I’m not sure that I would stop coaching as well, because the devil is still in there. But I have to see, do I like it, and can I be efficient?”

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