Wednesday 07 June 2023, 14:00

Football for Schools brings the Caribbean together

  • Seminar held in Jamaica to launch F4S

  • Programme’s objective is to spread football across the world

  • Puerto Rico and Guyana shared their experiences of the programme

A regional seminar took place in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on 27-29 May with the aim of promoting FIFA’s Football for Schools (F4S) programme. The event was comprised of both informative theory and practical sessions designed to encourage the nations of the Caribbean to take part in F4S. The seminar was attended by delegates from 21 countries in the region, with around 90 people taking part in all. It was organised by a FIFA team led by its Football for Schools Director Fatimata Sow Sidibe, in collaboration with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF). Representatives of the Jamaican Ministry of Education and Ministry of Sports were also present. “This initiative will expand football globally and help the participants to become better global citizens,” said Sidibe. “We want every child across the world to have the opportunity to play football through the 211 member associations and in doing so, we want them to learn and develop important life skills.”

Football for Schools workshop in Jamaica

The seminar provided an excellent platform for countries already participating in F4S to share their experiences and knowledge. Puerto Rico and Guyana presented their success stories with great enthusiasm and spoke of the challenge they faced in rolling out the programme. Their contributions were vital in encouraging other member associations to consider joining and make the most of all the benefits on offer. “This workshop is massively important for us,” said JFF President Michael Ricketts. “As I have said, I really want to use football not for sport but as an agent for change. The JFF will certainly be the vanguard for change as it relates to social impact.” JFF Secretary General Dennis Thung added: “What we aim for with our competitions is similar to the four pillars that have been identified by FIFA for its Football for Schools programme, in terms of getting students to use sport as a way of interacting with others, identifying their participation in sports as contributing to their health and well-being, and to form bonds over time through relevant networks.”

Football for Schools workshop in Jamaica

The event included informative sessions in which experts presented the objectives, methodologies and results of F4S. In addition to theory sessions, bilateral meetings were held to promote collaboration between participating countries. The purpose of such gatherings is to forge closer ties, discuss and share best practices, and explore opportunities for cooperation in the immediate future. The debates that took place led to ideas and innovative strategies being exchanged, strengthening the bonds between the participants. The three-day seminar came to an end with a football tournament, with delegates from across the region giving their all on the pitch, showing off their skills, and demonstrating the power of sport to bring people and communities together.

Football for Schools workshop in Jamaica