Thursday 21 December 2023, 16:15

Caribbean member associations meet in the Bahamas for financial governance workshops

  • Two workshops with the member associations from the Caribbean were conducted between 13-15 December and 18-20 December

  • FIFA's financial governance team, external auditors, and members of FIFA's regional office in Barbados led the discussions

  • FIFA’s recently published Financial Governance Guide features key principles governing the management of funds received from FIFA

Twenty-two member associations (MAs) from the Caribbean - split into two groups - convened in Nassau, Bahamas, from 13-15 December, and between 18-20 December to participate in two financial governance workshops. In line with the objective of FIFA President Gianni Infantino to ‘make football truly global’ and increase competitiveness, FIFA's financial support to its member associations and confederations through the FIFA Forward Programme has consistently increased since its inception in 2016. As an integral part of the FIFA Forward Programme, FIFA conducts annual central audit reviews of all MAs and confederations that received funds in the previous year.

Two successful iterations of the programme have been completed since its inception in 2016 with over 2.8 billion USD committed to a diverse array of plans that provide locally relevant backing to the needs of the six confederations and 211 member associations. The four-year cycle of FIFA Forward 3.0 launched in January 2023 represents an increase in football development investment of almost 30 per cent and is a direct consequence of the reinforced governance and financial situation of the new FIFA since 2016. A significant element of the investment will support FIFA’s goal of having 60 million female players participating in football worldwide by the end of the coming cycle. Workshops such as those held in the Bahamas are essential in ensuring the benefits of the resources allocated are maximised, and concurrently, that the key principles of the Financial Governance Guide are adhered to: • Credibility • Transparency • Accountability

NASSAU, BAHAMAS - DECEMBER 13: The Financial governance workshop Caribbean Bahamas on December 13, 2023 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Al Rahming/FIFA)

Apart from the importance of proper planning and budgeting, participants also received training on how to best use an accounting software to separate different FIFA Forward cost types using QuickBooks.

Christoph Suppiger
Head of FIFA MA Finance Services

The workshops were led by personnel from FIFA's financial governance team, external auditors, and members of FIFA's regional office in Barbados who are responsible for providing the regions MAs with financial and technical support in the execution of their development projects. The sessions commenced with the presentation of the Financial Governance Guide, which sets out guidelines and recommendations on how to strengthen individual MA and confederation financial governance structures, processes, and procedures, based on general good financial governance principles. Both groups received a presentation from an auditor who outlined what they consider to be the best practices in risk control and how each respective member association can prepare for their central audit.

On the second day, a theoretical discussion focused on planning and budgeting, with a group session bringing the MAs together to put what they had learned into practice. Representatives from Concacaf also presented a case study focused on the planning of expenses for the organisation of national team matches. Many of the island member associations present have to undertake complex logistical planning for inter-confederation competitions at youth and senior level for men and women, as well as for Beach Soccer and Futsal events. “The workshops were an excellent opportunity to get closer to the members and verify together their current financial situation and concerns,” said Jair Bertoni, FIFA Regional Director Americas.

FIFA Regional Director Americas, Jair Bertoni speaks at a FIFA Forward Workshop with Caribbean Member Associations

“The member associations want to increasingly develop football and, as part of this objective, ensure the participation of all their national teams in official international tournaments,” he continued. “However, in order to do this they also need to implement all their activities and operations considering their financial resources. To this end, planning, budgeting and transparent financial management are key principles. "Together with Concacaf, we want to find concrete solutions to achieve the right balance and allow our members to play more football whilst being financially efficient and accountable. There was a great motivation among the participants to achieve this goal. It is only the first step of many.” The Caribbean workshops conclude a series of similar themed workshops bringing FIFA and its member associations together, with previous encounters held in Senegal, Rwanda, Indonesia and New Caledonia over the last six months.

What they said

Devron Poyer, General Secretary of the Saint Vincent & the Grenadines Football Federation "The financial governance workshop was exceptional. The presentations and topics addressed were thoroughly prepared and highly relevant to our context as we plan our budgeting for the year ahead. “The support provided by FIFA will be very beneficial for the development of football in Saint Vincent for next years to come." Firas Idheleih, General Secretary of the U.S.V.I. Soccer Association "The Financial Governance workshop’s impact on financial planning for MAs is huge. Being educated by experts in their field from FIFA helped underline the importance of the procedures and controls in place. “We learned a lot about how to properly plan project applications and the time required to both create and submit budget proposals for funding approval. “Having FIFA’s support gives me confidence in knowing my country is on the right path to long-term financial success. FIFA is a global leader; having their resources and guidance at our fingertips allows us to take our professionalism and success to the next level." Jabari Wilmott, Accountant at the Bahamas FA “The workshop was extremely beneficial to me as the Finance Manager for my MA. It provided clarification on what is expected by FIFA, and re-emphasised the resources that are in place to assist with our daily operations. In addition, it provided MAs with a platform to discuss challenges we may encounter, and start conversations regarding how solutions can be implemented.”

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The core principles

Find out more about the FIFA Forward core principles.

Programme history

Explore the history of the FIFA Forward Programme since the first edition in 2016.

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