On 7 April, the President of Uzbekistan signed a decree on the comprehensive development of mass and professional football.
The document provides for measures to popularize football among the population, especially young people. Thus, festivals and competitions “Mass football” will be held annually among the youth of mahallas, including pre-school educational organizations, the national competition “Football in schools” will be held among students of schools, and the national competition “Student League” — among university students.
It is also planned to create the necessary conditions for young people, including those with disabilities, to play football.
Under the decree, football schools will be transferred from the system of the Ministry of Youth Policy and Sport to the Football Association of Uzbekistan and will be transformed into football academies.
Under the Football Association, football schools will be established in Karakalpakstan, the regions, and Tashkent. Their tasks include creating a system for the selection of young footballers, attracting children and teenagers to the sport, and providing football academies and clubs with qualified athletes of all age categories.
As far as “big” football is concerned, it was decided to use the experience of Japan and Croatia for its development and to employ specialists to implement foreign experience as technical directors of the Football Association and football academies.
In addition, it is envisaged to expand the use of the VAR (video assistant referee) system to ensure fairness and transparency in football matches.
The resolution approved a proposal by the Almalyk and Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combines, Uzmetkombinat and Uzbekneftegaz to provide sponsorship for the development of football. Within a month, the sponsors will be assigned to professional football clubs in Uzbekistan’s Super League and Pro League.
Investors who sponsor and provide charitable donations to professional football clubs, as well as those who acquire football clubs put up for public sale, will be given state support and additional benefits, the corresponding regulation should be developed within three months.
Professional football clubs with a state share of 50% or more in their authorized fund will be allowed to buy sports equipment, implements, pharmaceuticals, sports nutrition, artificial turf, sports equipment and other items necessary for football through direct contracts.
The decree also established the Fund for the Support of Football of Uzbekistan under the Football Association. It will be financed from the following sources:
- Funds allocated from the state budget;
- Sponsorship from Uzmetkombinat, the Almalyk and Navoi metallurgical plants and Uzbekneftegaz
- Charitable donations from private individuals and legal entities, including non-residents of Uzbekistan;
- Receipts from the placement of temporarily available funds of the Fund on deposits with commercial banks;
- Grants and technical assistance from international financial organizations and foreign countries;
The Ministry of Economy and Finance was instructed to allocate annually 25 billion soums from the state budget to support the Fund starting from 2023.
The fund will be used for the following purposes:
- Developing mass and professional football, purchasing modern equipment and facilities;
- Covering the cost of creating a system for training advanced teaching methods and innovations for football specialists, including the incentives for foreign specialists recruited from abroad;
- procurement and implementation of modern football technologies, etc.
The document says that Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) allocated $4.2 million to build four modern football fields in 2022−2023 at Dustlik stadium in Yukorichirchik district of Tashkent region.
There are plans to build a national team training centre for football teams of all age categories at Dustlik stadium in 2023−2024. This centre will also host the Republican Children and Youth Football Academy.