Denmark is a nation of just 5.8 million people yet the country produces some of the worlds best football talent and has done this through a well thought out system, implemented by their Talent Development manager, Flemming Berg. He was a scout at Brøndby and FC Nordsjælland before a seven-year spell as worldwide scout for Chelsea and even scouted Teemu Pukki before the trial failed.


In Denmark, the youth competitions focus on creating an environment to promote development rather than a results-oriented approach and clubs are ranked on the basis of their quality through the youth licensing system which is reviewed and improved on an annual basis. A stars-based system is used to rank the overall quality of clubs and the boys’ clubs with the highest star ranking participate in the U-19, U-17 and U-15 Elite leagues.


According to Berg, the process began in 2008 and it was based on a clear plan. “We have had a pretty clear playing and development philosophy since then, and we created a licence system together with the clubs as well. We have not just one generation but so many good young players coming through now that (so) it will not just be short-term success,” he said. “We have many good years to come.”


The objectives of the Danish Football Association (DBU) can be broken down into three areas:

Winning – national teams qualifying for EURO finals and the FIFA World Cup (men and women), as well clubs performing well in European club competitions (men and women).

Children – overarching mission of having the ‘world’s best football for children’.

Together – a commitment to working together, from the association through to the leagues, players, coaches, men and women, east and west Denmark.


Denmark also has a wholistic approach to player development with almost every player studying everything from sales courses to sports management, teaching and personal coaching. They have also built a player CV database that matches players with employers while a transition program helps players in the last years of their career to prepare for life after football.