The development of South American football following the approval in 2013 of the General Regulations for FIFA Development Programmes is the main item on the agenda of a regional seminar currently being held in Asuncion, Paraguay. Organised by FIFA and CONMEBOL for the presidents, secretary generals and development chiefs of the region’s member associations, the three-day get-together comes to an end on Friday 14 February.

Speaking at the seminar, FIFA’s Director of Member Associations and Development Thierry Regenass highlighted the importance of diversification in the development programmes of world football’s governing body and the sense of expectation building in South America ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

“South America has long played a fundamental role in the development of the global game,” he said. “What we are trying to do in diversifying our programmes is to make a targeted and sustainable contribution to the development of the game in the countries of the CONMEBOL, in key areas such as grassroots and women’s football, information technologies and the training of coaches and administrators.

He added: “The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be a major catalyst for development across the whole of South America.”

In addition to the Financial Assistance Programme, which by January 2014 had received investement of over a billion USD, and the Goal Project, both of which have been up and running since 1999, FIFA has promoted a series of other initiatives in the CONMEBOL Zone through the Performance Programme. These include the installation of IT clusters in eight member associations (Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela), the aim being to create an IT platform for the provision of operations on a daily basis.

The seminar, which was opened on Wednesday by CONMEBOL President Eugenio Figueredo and his opposite number at the Paraguayan Football Association, Juan Angel Napout, has also seen the FIFA delegation highlight the role of the competitions it has organised in the region over the last few years, such as the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Chile 2008 and the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011.

“The FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 will provide a new platform for the development of South American youth football, as did the 2008 and 2011 tournaments, which created a fantastic buzz and contributed to the sustainable promotion of new organisational structures,” added Regenass.

The current seminar is the sixth in a series of 11 meetings that FIFA aims to hold in all its confederations for the purposes of encouraging an exchange of views with its member associations on the topic of development.