Friday 29 May 2020, 15:25

Distant but united amid COVID-19: FIFA rallies around member associations in the Americas

  • Member associations in the Americas met online to share their experiences

  • They shared their views about football development during and after the pandemic

  • Various FIFA divisions and departments gave presentations on various key topics

On 20 May FIFA held the working session “Challenges and prospects for football development in times of COVID-19”, which was attended by the development directors of 21 member associations (MAs) in the Americas region.

The online meeting – at which around 70 participants were present, including representatives of CONMEBOL, Concacaf and UNCAF – was a fantastic opportunity for professionals and experts from various FIFA divisions to present their plans and services aimed at assisting MAs in anticipating and planning their football development activities for the rest of 2020 and 2021.

In the first half of the meeting, various aspects of the FIFA Forward Programme were discussed in more detail, including development opportunities in technical areas and women’s football. Details were also provided on the innovative FIFA Talent Development Programme and on the progress of the FIFA Foundation’s Football for Schools initiative. In the second half of the meeting, MAs were given a platform to discuss and better understand the current situation and limitations on football development in each country against the backdrop of the pandemic. This gave them the chance to present plans and good practices regarding organising development activities at national level.

As Jair Bertoni, FIFA Director MA for the Americas, highlighted: “This is a crucial time for us to be close to and assist our member associations so that they can continue to grow and improve our game with the help of the FIFA development programmes. We are convinced that by joining forces, we will be able to ensure that football keeps developing despite the difficulties caused by COVID-19.”

This video conference showed how effectively new technologies can overcome hurdles such as distance and the current inability to meet in person. Such events enable MAs and FIFA to stay close and to discuss, promote and implement real solutions in order to ensure a high level of football development during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

This trailblazing online conference was just the first of many “workinars” that FIFA will organise so that the MAs in the Americas region can continue to benefit and receive support. Strategic planning tailored to each MA’s short- and medium-term prospects and objectives will be harnessed as part of a positive approach geared towards improving and strengthening the football development activities in the various territories.