With its target of developing football across the globe, FIFA has long embarked on the football management programme PERFORMANCE to provide its member associations with off the pitch capacity building. As the year draws towards an end, the world's football governing body staged a course in China recently as the world's most populous nation are aiming to improve their management levels.
The 2014 FIFA-CFA MA General Secretaries' Seminar lasted four days from 16-19 November in Chengdu, China, a footballing city and a venue at the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007™. A seven-person FIFA delegation offered expertise on administration in front of an 80-strong audience featuring officials from Chinese Football Association (CFA) President Cai Zhenhua to its 47 member associations leaders. Also gracing the occasion were three Japanese Football Association officials headed by Vice-President Kohzo Tashima, who shared their administrating experiences with their East Asian colleagues at the invitation by the hosts.
"This seminar, as part of the PERFORMANCE program designated for China under the Action Plan of Cooperation between FIFA and CFA, is of significant help to us," CFA Presidient Cai Zhenhua told FIFA.com. "One of the keys to China's football development is to have a group of football managers and administrators who can meet all requirements of today's game. So this seminar has offered us with timely help."
Vice-President of the CFA and the seminar's chair-person Mr. Lin Xiaohua expressed his pleasure at the seminar's success. "This was another great seminar for the CFA Member Association General Secretaries following last year's first edition in Wuxi," he said. "It provided us local administrators with not only the big picture of football development, but also the much-needed administrative know-how. Like the FIFA instructors said, this is so sweet a sport that we should get armed with the most advanced managing knowledge to deal with it.”
*Aspiration for perfection *With China's fast-developing economy, the game has grown at an unprecedented pace. The Chinese Super League, averaging an attendance of 18,986 per game over the past season, is among Asia's best, attracting established figures like Fabio Cannavaro, who recently took over from Marcello Lippi in charge of Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande. The national teams, both of men and women, have captured increasing attention. However, the local authorities are lacking in managing experiences, which prompted them to ask for help from FIFA.
To answer their requests, several FIFA instructors gave speeches on topics in which the local attendants were most interested. In his lecture, Desi Curry spoke on the role of a technical director, grassroots and youth development, while Kaita Sugihara focused on the league structure and its relations with football associations. Ebru Koksal, meanwhile, singled out Turkey as a sample to explain the principles of development strategy, media communication and marketing.
As many as 14 subjects were covered during the four-day event and conference attendees were pleased with what they had been taught. General Secretary of the CFA Mr. Zhang Jian, also expressed his pleasure of the seminar's success. "We have now a deeper understanding of football development, today modern football is more than just about competition and sport. It has a greater significance which is ranging from grassroots football, youth development to national teams build-up. A general secretary is just like a team captain with the role of achieving administrative success."
In addition to lecturing, the FIFA instructors and JFA lecturers offered a free discussion for the students to get involved in brainstorming. "I am impressed by these lectures," Mr. Gu Jiangming, President of the local football association of Chengdu, said. "After listening to these lectures, I can see that China's football is behind not only in the technical or tactical terms, but in general, and we need to catch up."
FIFA Development Officer in Asia Domeka Garamendi believes the CFA are headed in the right direction after the seminar. “We are now aware about the importance of administration in football after our discussion over the past four days. We think CFA are going in the right direction in development so we are glad to offer what we could to help. We hope that the CFA will do a greater job for the year to come.”