The 17th Goal Bureau meeting unfolded at the Home of FIFA in Zurich this week, and served to illustrate the overwhelming success the initiative continues to have.
"Goal projects have received appreciation from all over the world," FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said. "We must not only continue to build technical centres and pitches, but must strive to maintain them so the players and the youth of all countries can continue to benefit from them over the years. This is the legacy FIFA wants to leave."
Since the launch of the Goal Programme in 1999, the Goal Bureau, under the chair of FIFA Executive member Mohamed Bin Hammam, has overseen the completion of 522 projects in 193 of FIFA’s Member Associations. Those Member Associations have received at least one project apiece, whereas 166 have received two, 113 three, 44 four, five five and one six projects. In this context, the Goal Bureau Members reiterated the principle of solidarity as the key factor in the granting of projects to be financed.
"Due to the comfortable financial position that we are and due to the importance of development, FIFA will raise the fund now from $400,000 to $500,000 for each Goal project," said President Blatter. Considering the increased contribution per project for the period 2011 to 2014, about 200 additional Goal projects can be granted during this new cycle.
The success of the Goal project is shown in the results of a survey conducted among 102 Member Associations on 169 projects (Association Headquarters and the Technical Centres): ninety-one per cent of its technical centres are used for footballing education, with an average of 34 courses per year for players, coaches and officials, while 85 per cent of them are used for national team preparations.
In addition, 87 per cent of the Member Associations held competitions in their facilities and 78 per cent used them for grassroots football programmes. Furthermore, 23 per cent of the Member Associations were able to generate additional funds through staging third party events at the facilities.
The Bureau was also updated on the impact of the pilot 'Goal FOOTBALL' project which was launched in 2009. This new initiative uses the Technical Centres for the creation of football academies integrating academic and professional education, given that not all youth players will make the grade professionally or enjoy enduring careers.
The success of the pilot Goal FOOTBALL project has been underlined by an achievement coming a few degrees south of the equator. Rwanda, a beneficiary of this pilot football academy, surprised the football world by qualifying for its first FIFA tournament, this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico, in January after beating African giants Egypt in the continental qualifiers.