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FIFA Forward

In 2016, when President Gianni Infantino launched the FIFA Forward Programme, all member associations were promised support in helping to develop football in their countries. In 2023, the FIFA Forward Report showed how that promise had been delivered.

In December 2023, the FIFA Forward Report (Global report on development activities 2016-2022) was published. The report revealed that, between its launch in 2016 and the end of 2022, approximately USD 2.8 billion was made available to the 211 FIFA Member Associations, the six confederations, and the various zonal or regional associations, funding more than 1,600 specific projects with a long-term impact on football development. Established soon after President Infantino took office, with the express aim of giving everyone around the world the chance to play football, the FIFA Forward Programme has made a significant contribution to football development activities since its launch.

“We pledged that revenues generated by football would be used for the benefit of our sport all around the world, for girls and boys, women and men, and we were as good as our word,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “Investment in football is both our responsibility and our obligation, and through FIFA Forward we have the structure to do that in a viable and transparent way. The outcome has been a sevenfold increase in investment since 2016 – during a spell in which FIFA’s revenues have not even doubled. This shows that funding is not only being delivered correctly, but it is being monitored and implemented to ensure the sustainable development of football.”

DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN - MAY 02: FIFA President Gianni Infantino visits the FIFA Forward project in Varzob on May 2, 2023 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. (Photo by Aziz Nurullaev - FIFA/FIFA via HighPark)

We pledged that revenues generated by football would be used for the benefit of our sport all around the world, for girls and boys, women and men, and we were as good as our word.

Gianni Infantino
FIFA President

The report outlines that 80% of the investment across FIFA Forward 1.0 and 2.0 from 2016 to 2022 – more than USD 2.24 billion – was made directly to member associations both to make an essential contribution to the operations of football development activities and to enable investment in specific projects with a long-term impact on football development. It breaks down the investments between 2016 and 2022 into eight categories. Administration and governance (USD 448.8 million) was the biggest investment area across the 211 FIFA Member Associations, closely followed by infrastructure (USD 415.2 million). National teams (USD 357.5 million), competitions (USD 186.1 million), and equipment and others (USD 181.1 million) saw significant funds dedicated to them, as did women’s football (USD 110.9 million) and capacity development (USD 86.8 million). Football operating expenses and unused funds (USD 135.6 million) accounted for the remainder of the global sum. The funds invested resulted in no fewer than 577 new pitches being laid, and 208 new competitions established, directly providing more than 300,000 men, women, boys and girls around the world with new opportunities to play the game they love.

FIFA Forward – Making Football Truly Global

In 2023, it was clear for all to see that FIFA continued its commitment to making football truly global and ensuring that the revenues generated at the pinnacle of the global game filter down to grassroots level in every corner of the world. Within this section, we explore how investment in football development projects is helping to drive the game forward in countries across every confederation.

AFC

Infrastructure development across the AFC got a significant boost thanks to the FIFA Forward Programme. Some 112 pitches were laid among the 96 infrastructure projects carried out by member associations across the AFC, who also launched 34 competitions, including 31 leagues. They contributed to giving more than 18,000 new female and over 98,000 new male players the opportunity to play the game they love.

Case study – Laos

The inaugural season of the Lao Women’s League ended in December 2023, the successful culmination of a project supported by the Lao Football Federation and FIFA Forward. A pilot programme aimed at raising participation in and awareness of women’s football in the country, the league enhanced the country’s recent investment in female junior and national teams. The eight-team league, which featured four teams from the capital, Vientiane, and four from provinces, and ended with Young Elephants FC being crowned champions, marked the renaissance of the women’s game in Laos after the COVID-19 pandemic had severely stunted its growth.

Lao Women’s league 2023

CAF

Forward funding has made a major contribution to transforming the African football landscape, with USD 118.7 million utilised to improve infrastructure. A total of 144 projects were carried out and 94 new pitches were laid. The growth potential of women’s football on the continent came to the fore, with more than 10,000 girls and women benefiting from some of the 36 competitions launched.

Case study – Mauritania

Some USD 11.1 million in FIFA Forward funding has helped reshape and rejuvenate the football landscape in the African country of Mauritania. Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani saw the progress for himself on a visit to the renovated Mauritanian Football Association headquarters in November 2023, while facilities at the Sheikha Boidiya stadium, which stages national-team games, have also been given a facelift. Originally built in the 1960s, the 5,000-capacity venue has had a new synthetic playing surface laid, while off-the-pitch facilities, such as the dressing rooms, have also been renovated.

Visit of the Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani to the FFRIM Headquarters
Case study – Sudan

In Sudan, which FIFA President Gianni Infantino visited in 2021 to see for himself the progress being made, the growth of women’s football has been immense. After launching the first women’s league – with the help of FIFA Forward funds – the country now has 62 women’s clubs, with each club boasting a roster of 35 players. Unfortunately, the league was suspended in April 2023 due to conflict in the country, but officials are now preparing a safe place for the return of women’s sports activity – once again with the aid of FIFA Forward funding.

Case study – South Sudan

Meanwhile, in neighbouring South Sudan, the Menstrual Hygiene and Education for Girls and Women Playing Football project continued to make a positive impact for women and girls across the country. With the help of FIFA Forward funding, the initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of women’s football at grassroots level and encourage girls’ participation in the sport, whilst educating them about menstrual hygiene and providing them with reusable sanitary products.

FIFA Women’s Football Development Workshop – South Sudan

Concacaf

A huge amount of work has gone into developing women’s football in the region, giving even more girls and women the opportunity to show their skills. More than 16,000 female players – along with almost 41,000 men – benefited from the 53 competitions created, while 25,568 women participated across the 24 capacity development projects initiated.

Case study – Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados and Dominica

No fewer than four major pitch upgrade and installation projects were able to be undertaken across the Caribbean in 2023 thanks to the FIFA Forward Programme. The Bahamas Football Association installed an artificial pitch at its main venue, which solved issues caused by the overuse of its original grass surface and water shortages, while the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association added an artificial pitch and floodlights at its technical centre to better meet the needs of its national teams and domestic competitions. The Barbados Football Association was able to replace the ageing artificial surface at its technical centre, while the Dominica Football Association has been able to take on a wide-ranging and ambitious modernisation and upgrade project of its Stockfarm facilities in Roseau, including replacing a grass pitch with an international-standard artificial pitch.

Pitches Caribbean region - Bahamas

CONMEBOL

Infrastructure was the most significant investment area (USD 21.7 million) across South American member associations, with notably 12 technical centres being either built or renovated. No fewer than 33 new championships and tournaments were created, giving more than 40,000 players a chance to compete, while 26 coaching and 18 refereeing projects were staged among capacity development initiatives.

Case study – Brazil

In a bid to develop women’s football in the South American nation, the Brazilian Football Association approved in September 2023 a project to introduce 54 new state competitions for U-15 and U-17 players over the following three years. Each state federation will receive approximately USD 14,000 annually to run the competitions, using the money to improve the organisation and logistics of the competitions and provide sports equipment, support for referees, communication, branding, and ambulance services.

Players of Brazil pose for pictures before the start of the women's friendly football match between Brazil and Japan

OFC

Forward funding contributed to the creation of 41 competitions across the OFC region during the first six years of the initiative, an investment benefiting nearly 20,000 players, more than 5,000 of them women. National teams were also given significant support, with 38 different projects funded, including 36 training camps.

Case study – Fiji

On a visit to the Fiji Football Association (FFA) headquarters during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, FIFA President Gianni Infantino inaugurated a new fitness centre, which was funded by FIFA Forward and named in honour of the late Brazilian legend Pelé. Mr Infantino also unveiled a futsal pitch funded by the FIFA Forward initiative, which will play a central role in shaping football infrastructure on the southern Pacific archipelago. Plans for the funding to be received in the current cycle of the programme, FIFA Forward 3.0, have already been put in place by the FFA, who aim to build a high-performance centre for young players graduating from academies, and a 15,000-capacity stadium.

FIFA President Visits Fiji - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023

UEFA

Infrastructure has been the main focus of European member associations under the FIFA Forward Programme so far, with a collective USD 106.2 million spent on 106 different projects and 294 pitches laid. Women were heavily involved in capacity-building initiatives: 22,258 women – and 10,814 men – took part in 22 projects, including 17 coaching programmes.

Case study – Andorra

Second in the inaugural edition of the FIFA Forward awards, which are open to all of FIFA’s 55 European member associations, the La Massana Sporting Centre project in Andorra was officially completed in September 2023 when the facility was given its grand opening. Due to the principality’s mountainous topography and its small area of only 468 square kilometres, a lack of pitches for training has been a significant issue. The La Massana complex includes a full-size artificial pitch, with a stand for up to 500 spectators, a seven-a-side artificial pitch, and a futsal pitch.

All are available for training sessions from grassroots level to the national team, and are used by 110 teams under the Andorran Football Association’s umbrella.

FIFA Forward Awards - Andorra

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