A week ago, on Tuesday 27 March, the Development Committee met for the first time at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich. The meeting was led by the Committee’s deputy chairman, Michel Platini, as its Chairman Issa Hayatou was unable to attend.

The meeting was an important one, as it saw the new Committee replace the former Goal and Special Projects bureaus and assume their responsibilities, while receiving broad operating powers.

With the creation of the Goal Bureau in 2000, FIFA’s development efforts began to grow apace, with the Goal Programme, the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) and other courses all implemented. Now, more than a decade later, FIFA’s development initiatives are far more extensive. In addition to those historic programmes, there is now the PERFORMANCE programme, thematic support for member associations and the ‘Win in...’ projects. A number of other new development programmes have also been put in place this year.

This diversification of initiatives responds to article two of the FIFA Statutes, which states that FIFA’s objectives are “to constantly improve the game of football [...] particularly through youth and development programmes”. It also falls in line with the evolution of the world of football; FIFA now has better resources for helping its member associations, and the needs of those associations are more varied and diverse than ever before.

FIFA’s primary objective
The Development Committee has been set up to that end, and it will now oversee all of FIFA’s development programmes. In his opening address, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said: “This committee is charged with fulfilling FIFA’s primary objective, which underlines just how important it is.”

As such, and as noted by deputy chairman Michel Platini, the first meeting was “heavy in content”. The Committee used the meeting to define its operating rules, acquaint itself with all of FIFA’s development programmes and approve changes to rules relating to the Goal and PERFORMANCE programmes. It also approved 24 Goal projects and several projects within the framework of new programmes, and appointed new beneficiary member associations for the PERFORMANCE programme.

The creation of the Development Committee is a further sign of FIFA’s commitment to football and its member associations. The size and scope of the commitment is now formally under the supervision of this decision-making body, which is made up of elected members from the world of international football. These members represent every aspect of football in their respective countries, such as amateur football, leagues, referees, and so on. This means that the football world is directly involved in drawing up the programmes that aid its development.