Saturday 20 May 2023, 14:00

Americas member associations preparing for Forward 3.0

  • Workshops held in Ecuador and Panama

  • Some 23 member associations from the CONMEBOL and Concacaf zones took part

  • Workshops aimed at general secretaries, FIFA Forward Programme heads and member association finance directors

FIFA has just held two Forward 3.0 Programme workshops for member associations in South America and Spanish-speaking nations in the Concacaf zone. Ecuador hosted the CONMEBOL workshop on 11 and 12 May and Panama the other on 15 and 16 May. Both events began with a welcome message from FIFA President Gianni Infantino and continued with presentations by members of the Member Associations Americas Subdivision. Also taking part were the Women’s Football and Technical Development divisions, who were gathering information on the ongoing programmes to aid the growth of the game in every participating country. At the end of the first day, participants were split up into work groups to share their views on the shared challenges posed by the FIFA Forward Programme and to present practical proposals for making it more effective. The ideas put forward by the member associations with the aim of increasing FIFA support in key areas of the programme were extremely valuable. Bilateral meetings were held on day two of the events.

“It was an ideal opportunity for us to engage with member associations looking to embark on the Forward 3.0 cycle,” said Jair Bertoni, FIFA Director Member Associations Americas. “We met with their general secretaries, FIFA Forward Programme heads and finance directors to discuss key aspects of the new regulations, clear up some questions about the various lines of support provided through the programme, and learn and talk about development priorities in each territory. “The workshops were vital in assessing the current status with regard to Forward at each member association,” added Bertoni. “They gave us the chance to jointly review investments in projects being implemented and planned as well as deliverables for the 2023-26 period, focusing in particular on the hugely important objectives to be achieved through football development projects. Finally, we conducted a preliminary assessment of the compliance of the 11 conditions for accessing the 2024 operational budget. In short, they were really productive gatherings that have yielded specific outcomes and laid the foundations for the efficient management of Forward 3.0.”

Football Development

FIFA Forward 3.0

Up to USD 5 million

For each member association to cover its operational costs in relation to football activities.

Up to USD 3 million

For each member association to execute well-planned, specific football projects that contribute to the achievement of long-term football development objectives.

Up to USD 1.2 million

For member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance, to cover the costs of travel and accommodation for their national teams as well as football equipment.

The vision of the South American MAs

The Ecuador workshop took place at the headquarters of the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) in Guayaquil. Luis Gimenez, director of development at the Venezuelan Football Association (FVF), said “These introductory meetings are very useful because of all the information you get but also because there’s more space for participating in them. You can compare success stories and that’s so useful.” Giving his view on the new 3.0 cycle, which provides for a 30% increase in funding, Gimenez said: “Changes have been made to the regulations based on past consultations with us, and it’s great to see them in there. It’s important to feel listened to because you know they’re working with you in mind and it motivates you. It’s just another sign that FIFA are serious about developing football.”

Joyce Campana, the Chilean Football Association’s (ANFP) head of monitoring and finance, had this to say about the Forward Programme: “It’s a partner for the member associations. Aside from the increase in funding, this cycle underscores the fact that it is a flexible programme that puts the emphasis on the development of member associations and the growth of football across the board.” Highlighting two of the benefits of the 3.0 cycle, Campana said: “It supports the national Gen Chile plan that the ANFP has just launched and which looks to nurture girls and boys throughout their development as players. Furthermore, and this is a very important part of this phase, it brings about an improvement in infrastructure, which is a weak point of ours compared to our peers in the region.”

The vision of the Spanish-speaking Concacaf MAs

The Forward 3.0 workshop brought together 13 member associations from the region in Panama City. Arturo Heinsen, general secretary of the Dominica Football Association (FEDOFUTBOL), said it was “a unique opportunity to exchange information with other member associations in the region. FEDOFUTBOL has benefitted immensely from the Forward Programme and is very excited at the prospect of this new 3.0 cycle fulfilling a number of objectives”. The managing director of administration at US Soccer, Tom King commented that he went away from the workshop “fully informed about the updates to the programme, the support available and our responsibilities as part of the 3.0 cycle. We have a greater awareness and understanding of the additional opportunities for collaborating in the areas of Women’s Football Development and the Talent Development Scheme. By working with other member associations, we can manage these programmes more efficiently and invest more efficiently in the sport’s future.”

Miguel Zuniga, general secretary of the Panamanian Football Association, described the experience as “rewarding, as we managed to clear up a few doubts about the new regulations and learn about positive experiences first hand from other member associations. We also provided further feedback on the programme in one-to-one sessions with various FIFA departments. “The 3.0 cycle is a step forward in closing the gap between member associations on both an administrative and football level, thus creating a more professional and competitive environment and boosting the development of the sports industry in all of our countries,” added Zuniga. In his eyes, the biggest challenge involves “building our first national team high-performance centre, an exciting project that will help us to continue developing the sport in our country and make us even more of a benchmark in our region.” FIFA’s Member Associations Americas Subdivision will run further sessions in the second half of the year. Their objective will be to provide information and training on the main requirements of the Forward 3.0 Programme and its management, the goal being for investment to continue generating the requisite impact for football, all in an efficient and transparent manner.

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