AFC and OFC officials attend FIFA Executive Programme in Dubai

  • FIFA host executives from across Asia and Oceania

  • Programme run by FIFA and International Centre for Sport Studies

  • Executives welcome exchange of ideas, aim to bring expertise to own member association 

Top executives from FIFA member associations (MAs) across Asia and Oceania gathered in Dubai last week to attend the FIFA Executive Programme, exchanging ideas and learning best practices for sports governance and management.

The programme, run by FIFA in conjunction with education partner International Centre for Sport Studies (CIES), provides multifaceted and comprehensive training to MA general secretaries and key administrative staff.

A key focus of the programme is for executives to share their ideas and experiences to improve the level of football management globally.

“Every member association is different, has its own culture, has its own way of delivering football, but we share so many of the same challenges,” said New Zealand FA General Secretary Andrew Pragnell.

“While not every member association is the same, there are always opportunities to explore that can be maximised - learn from each other’s mistakes but also learn from each other’s opportunities.”

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 12: UAE FA Head of Commercial Affairs and Marketing Kristofer Harris during FIFA Executive Programme at the UAE Football Association on May, 12, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Martin Dokoupil - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ being held in Australia and New Zealand, the first time two confederations have jointly held a FIFA World Cup™, this is a key moment of cooperation.

“So, that partnership, which you have seen in the Women’s World Cup bid and hosting, is only the beginning of how the two confederations could work together in the future,” added Pragnell.

Executives from afar afield as Japan, Fiji and Saudi Arabia were in attendance.

“When we share information with each other, we can notice the positives and/or negatives of what we have in our organisation as well. So, it’s a great opportunity to be inspired to go to the next step,” said International Competitions Group Manager at Japan FA Shun Kitamura. There was a particular focus on the benefits brought on by the increasing numbers of women in leadership positions at FIFA MAs.

“I think one of the key improvements that we’ve seen is the increase of women in leadership, and I think it’s a key area to work on,” said Director of Women's Football at the Fiji FA Nazia Ali. 

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 11: Korea FA Head of Strategic Planning Ilki Park (L) and Fiji FA Women's Development Manager Naziah Ali during the FIFA Executive Programme on May, 11, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Martin Dokoupil - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

“In the past, everybody knows football has been a very male-dominated industry, so having women in decision-making really helps to balance the decision-making. Then it trickles down to women in football and women footballers, so it helps us in a more holistic decision-making process.”  The event was hosted by the UAE FA and guests were also given a tour of the FA’s headquarters in Dubai.

“The exchange of knowledge is the goal of this programme, and the issues raised may have opened doors and other opportunities for us as Asian federations,” said UAE FA General Secretary Mohammed Hazzam Al Dhaheri.