Thursday 17 November 2022, 06:00

FIFA Forward Programme empowering Caribbean football

  • The Caribbean’s Member Associations have just met to discuss key issues relating to the development of football

  • The FIFA Forward Development Programme is vital to the game’s progress in the region

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino: “FIFA Forward projects seek to make a lasting contribution to football growth. FIFA is here to provide support and the necessary tools.”

 The two FIFA Forward Workshops involving all the 22 Member Associations in the Caribbean have just come to an end successfully, with more than 60 representatives in attendance. During three days, the participants received information and tools to implement FIFA’s flagship development programme. They had the opportunity to exchange lessons learned and acquire know-how in a range of areas that are key to the growth of football in their respective countries.

Delivered and organised by the FIFA Member Associations Americas team, the workshop gave presidents, secretary generals, heads of finance and Forward Programme responsible staff the chance to access qualitative and quantitative knowledge that will help them consolidate the planning of football development projects, maximise existing capabilities within their organisations, and make the most of the support resources made available by FIFA. Also contributing to the workshop were FIFA experts in financial governance, technical development, FIFA+, and Football for Schools, among others.

Event FIFA FORWARD Caribbean MAs Meeting

Member Association representatives had the opportunity to review the status of the FIFA Forward Programme 2.0 cycle, which encouraged interaction and debate on its various components in order to enhance knowledge transfer between them. Ahead of the next FIFA Forward cycle, running from 2023 to 2026, the participants also took part in a consultation session about the future of the Programme. The consultation process addressing the main principles and aspects of the new cycle, which begins on 1 January 2023, takes into account challenges at regional level and will allow FIFA to find shared solutions to consolidate football as the most popular sport in each territory. Regarding more technical matters, specific information as well as a clear and detailed structure was introduced to the members with the aim of ensuring that an efficient planning and implementation process shall be put in place for infrastructure, competition and national-team projects.

Each workshop featured special sessions for Member Associations’ presidents in which they discussed strategic aspects with their peers, received training from an expert in reputation and social media management at football organisations, and interacted with FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger, who spoke at length about the technical programmes FIFA is running to strengthen the development of the game around the world.

Finally, on day three each member association had the opportunity to meet with FIFA personnel for an individual overview of the status of projects currently in the implementation and planning phase. These bilateral meetings also served to identify key football development objectives for Forward 3.0 cycle. 

“Shortly after my election in 2016, we created the FIFA Forward Development Programme to help you, our members, implement football development programmes tailored to your needs,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino in a welcome message screened to the workshop participants. “It is founded on three pillars: increased investment in football, greater impact and more supervision. And FIFA is here to help, to share our experience and best practice with you, and to give you the tools you need to help football grow in your country and your region.”

Furthermore, the FIFA MA Americas Director, Jair Bertoni, stressed that “It was a great opportunity to meet all our members from the Caribbean region. This forum focused on providing information, strategic tools and knowledge to master the management of the FIFA Forward Programme, but most importantly to learn first-hand from our members about their challenges and priorities. It is key for us to understand more deeply the football landscape in each country, to support them in the best way. We are very happy with the results achieved and the commitment shown by the Caribbean member associations and their leadership. There is a great footballing talent, and we are here to work together to unlock the potential. By establishing the grounds for professionalism off-the-pitch, we impact directly football on-the-pitch. I am confident we will achieve this objective. This capacity building initiative is just the starting point.” 

What the participants said

“It was an absolutely fantastic workshop. It was inspirational and it was a great atmosphere in which to learn. Now it’s just a question of implementing the learnings. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank FIFA and the organisers of the event.” Michael Ricketts, president of the Jamaica Football Federation

“I’m very proud and grateful to have been part of this workshop. One of the best things about it was to have the opportunity to share successful experiences with other member associations, look for ways of collaborating to promote the development of the game in our respective territories, and discuss high-impact projects with the FIFA Member Associations Americas team.” Ramiro Griffith, president of the Curaçao Football Federation

“The content of the various sessions was really well put together and presented. I’m pleased to have taken part in meetings that were specially designed for member association presidents. The session with Arsene Wenger was the cherry on the cake.”  Wayne Forde, president of the Guyana Football Federation

“The seminar was superbly run and a lot of relevant information was shared, information that was especially meaningful for me as I’ve only just taken up position as the secretary general of the Anguila Football Association. These three days of work have given me an excellent grounding in the use of Forward Programme funding and how to plan and execute projects. It’s really helped me.” Jameel Rochester, secretary general of the Anguila Football Association

“The seminar was very informative and answered many of the questions we had in relation to the FIFA Forward Programme.” Tandica Hughes, secretary general of the Montserrat Football Association