Activities involving all 209 member associations, landmark initiatives in Somalia, Afghanistan and Palestine, and an overall investment of USD 200 million are some of the key features of FIFA’s development work during 2013. South Sudan, FIFA’s newest member association, became the latest beneficiary of FIFA development projects with courses for referees and coaches taking place in Juba in the past two months.
46 new Goal projects were approved by FIFA’s Development Committee during 2013 for a total of 640 since the creation of the initiative in 1998. Furthermore, 28 member associations joined Performance - the football management programme of FIFA – that to date has been implemented in 155 countries.
2013 also confirmed the diversification of FIFA’s development programmes with 22 projects for less privileged member associations and two income generation initiatives approved.
A further milestone was the approval of the General Regulations for FIFA Development Programmes by the FIFA Executive Committee in March which was followed by a general consultation process that started in September in Auckland.
“2013 was a special year since we started a very important process in implementing the new general regulations for development programmes," FIFA Director of Member Associations and Development Thierry Regenass said. "Generally, this year has been about reforms, compliance and transparency, and we have been communicating these changes to our members through seminars, workshops, and through our new Member Associations Extranet."
From Afghanistan to Cuba
In August 2013 FIFA completed its first grassroots course in Somalia since 1986 – it was one of the 179 grassroots initiatives organised by FIFA during the past 12 months. Only a couple of days later Afghanistan hosted Pakistan on Kabul’s FIFA Goal project funded artificial pitch; their first international home match since 2003. The same venue was used for the second edition of the Afghan Premier League that saw Shaheen Asmayee winning their maiden title.
Palestine also took centre stage with FIFA President Blatter opening three Goal projects during a visit made in July.
International competitions too provided with positive examples of football development. Cape Verde Islands and Cuba – two countries that have benefited from a total of seven Goal projects – hit the news by qualifying for the first time for the African Cup of Nations and the FIFA U-20 World Cup, respectively.