Tuesday 16 April 2024, 03:00

FIFA President tells FIFA Forward Americas workshop football entering "fundamental phase" in region

  • Delegates hear Gianni Infantino say upcoming tournaments in the Americas "symbolise football’s ability to unite the world"

  • Concacaf and CONMEBOL representatives of FIFA Forward Programme gather for first time in FIFA's new Miami office

  • FIFA Forward 3.0 to provide more funding than ever before for football development projects around the world

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has told officials responsible for the FIFA Forward project in FIFA Member Associations in the Americas that "we are entering a fundamental phase for football development" in the region.

The CONMEBOL confederation welcomes this year's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup™, which kicks off in Colombia in August, while the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup™ will be hosted by Concacaf members the Dominican Republic in October and November.

Mr Infantino called these tournaments "the precursor" to the new Mundial de Clubes FIFA™ (FIFA Club World Cup™) to be held in the United States in 2025, itself a significant milestone on the road to the FIFA World Cup 26™ co-hosted by Canada, Mexico and the USA.

"We are entering a fundamental phase for football development in the Americas," said the FIFA President in a video message to attendees of the FIFA Forward Americas workshop. "These tournaments symbolise football’s ability to unite the world. In fact, during this workshop, we’ve gathered 23 FIFA Member Associations from North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America for the first time.

"We’ve gathered those regions to exchange knowledge and experiences together during the workshop. It is a great opportunity that moves us all closer to our goal of raising the competitive standards globally – both in youth categories and of course in the elite level. The same way that the FIFA Forward Programme allows us to help in order for football to advance in the direction that you want it to go."

Introduced in 2016, the first two phases of the FIFA Forward Programme provided over USD 2 billion to football development projects around the world. The initiative's third phase, which started its four-year cycle in 2023, will see funding raised to unprecedented levels.

Up to USD 8 million will be made available to each FIFA Member Association, up to USD 60 million to each confederation, and up to USD 5 million for each zonal/regional association to organise and develop football.

Mr Infantino was present at the inauguration of a high-performance training facility in Paraguay last week, itself the fruit of FIFA Forward funding, and he reminded workshop attendees the scheme exists with the sole aim of bringing their football development projects to life.

"The Forward Programme is the way FIFA has to support you when the time comes to shape the footballing ecosystem that you aspire to have. Many of you have already benefited from it to develop wonderful projects," he told delegates, who had travelled to FIFA's new Miami, USA, offices.

"Do not hesitate at all that FIFA will support you during the tailor-made design of these projects, which will make the most of the funds invested."