Following up on the approval of the new development regulations by FIFA’s Executive Committee in March 2013, football development activities are set to reach a new milestone through PERFORMANCE: the football management programme of FIFA.
Organisation and technical review, marketing – particularly income generation activities -, strategy and planning, IT support, and competitions are currently the five most important areas of assistance to member associations according to the latest Performance findings.
After a pilot phase in 2009 and 2010, FIFA officially established Performance in 2011 with the objective of enabling member associations to further improve the general quality of their management through the delivery of specific solutions and services.
“Through the implementation in 1999 of the Financial Assistance Programme and Goal, FIFA was able to provide member associations with support in the area of infrastructure. Performance goes a step further by planning and setting-up concrete and long-term solutions in order for member associations to fund and manage their daily football operations in the best possible way,” says FIFA Director Member Associations and Development Thierry Regenass.
By the end of 2012, Performance had been initiated in 127 member associations with 12 more beneficiaries approved by FIFA’s Development Committee in March 2013. The overall distribution of Performance initiatives is led by AFC with 36, followed by CAF (28), UEFA (27), CONCACAF (17), OFC (11) and CONMEBOL (8). While a total of 256 Performance activities, mainly mentoring, consultancy missions and seminars were undertaken during 2011 and 2012, the programme is set to expand its scope during 2013 and 2014. The Performance budget for the financial cycle 2011-2014 amounts to USD 35,000,000, which includes USD 20,000,000 dedicated to direct funding for the participating members in the form of incentives.
“Whereas particularly activities in the area of organisation and technical review have been in great demand in the recent past, since 2012 we have noticed an increasing need for support in the fields of IT administration, top management training, match organisation, financial management and communications,” adds Regenass.
Positive examples abound: a Performance support programme was set in place around the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2011 in Colombia, thus enabling Colombia’s FA officials to transfer and adapt best practices implemented during the event, including the electronic ticketing system, to their domestic league.
A further Performance highlight in South America has been the implementation of an IT cluster in eight member associations – Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela – that will have contributed by early 2014 to the setting-up of a standard IT platform for the facilitation of daily operations. A similar initiative has been launched in Central Asia with eight member associations – Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - currently in the implementation phase.
“After a comprehensive analysis of the IT situation in our associations, we came to the conclusion that we were facing similar challenges. Hence, the IT project that has been implemented through Performance has become an instrumental tool to homologate data structure, improve the general IT infrastructure of our associations, create synergies between IT managers, and trigger a change of attitude towards technological innovation,” comments Alvaro Mederos, Uruguay’s Football Association Head of IT and local coordinator of the IT cluster project.
Africa too has benefited from Performance. Mauritania’s Football Association made a major step forward through the setting up of an internal TV unit able to film local football matches and produce a weekly show to be aired on national TV. "We now have a TV production unit, one of the first of its kind in Africa," explains the President of the Mauritanian Football Association (FFRIM), Ahmed Ould Yahya.
"We've signed a contract with the national broadcasting company and we show matches every week. That's increased the visibility of football and is really changing the image of the game in the country."
Another remarkable case is Ethiopia: after facing severe internal problems in 2008, the Ethiopian Football Federation benefited from a general Performance pilot project that contributed to optimise both management and technical development structures. Following Ethiopia’s remarkable qualification for the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations – 31 years after their last appearance in the finals – a marketing scheme implemented within the scope of Performance led to a landmark sponsorship deal with an international beverage company.
As a result of the approval of FIFA’s new development regulations, Performance is set to focus on supporting member associations in strengthening their financial management with a view to helping them comply with the required standards in the fields of financial governance and management.
The said regulations will enter into force as of 1 July 2013 with full compliance required as of 1 January 2015.