The Irish Football Association has launched its largest ever consultation, the results of which will revolutionise youth football in Northern Ireland.

Entitled the Youth Football Review, it will engage with stakeholders across the game to develop a framework which will guarantee an active game that generates maximum enjoyment and technical development for every child, according to James Thompson, Director of the Irish FA Foundation.

“We want to boost player retention and increase player quality,” he said.

“To do this the framework will be developed using the core principles of enjoyment and development and, crucially, we want all youth football in Northern Ireland to be aligned.”

The framework will consist of four key pillars – active game, environment, education and governance – and provide a clear outline of how the youth game will be played across the mainstream pathways for both boys and girls.

“Once completed the framework will be an online interactive platform that everyone can access,” added Thompson.

“To ensure it is truly reflective of football in this country we will be engaging with as many people as possible around Northern Ireland.”

Initially engagement will be through a survey on youth football before the Foundation hosts two roadshows in 2024, in February and June.

Over the next eight weeks Foundation staff will be hosting information sessions on the review in clubs, schools and youth league venues across the country.

The target is to engage with 40,000 people, making it the largest engagement of its kind for the association.

“Youth football is where all players start their journey in the game,” said the Irish FA’s Technical Director Aaron Hughes.

“It is incumbent on us, as the governing body, to give them the best chance possible to reach their full potential.”

“I believe that, by working together with coaches, players, officials and parents, this piece of work will develop a better learning environment for aspiring footballers to flourish.”

It is anticipated that the framework will be approved by the beginning of the 2024-25 season.