A total of 33 countries from North, Central America and Caribbean came together at the end of last month in Guadalajara, Mexico, for the inaugural Seminar for Secretary Generals and Technical Development Managers, a four-day event that forms part of FIFA’s Development and Training Programmes.

FIFA’s team of instructors, which featured Andrea Rodebaugh (Mexico), Rodrigo Kenton (Costa Rica), Dick Howard (Canada), David Turcios (Honduras) and Keith Look Loy (Trinidad & Tobago), hosted a number of round tables and workshops over the course of the symposium, which took place on 25-28 October. The aim of the various events was to debate the functions and responsibilities of secretary generals and development managers within member associations and thereby improve communications and working relationships between the two posts.

Jurg Nepfer, the head of FIFA’s Technical and Development Committee, stressed the importance of these positions to the work carried out by national associations: “Close collaboration between development managers and secretary generals can bring about improvements in administrative and technical areas in all member associations. This seminar can therefore make a significant contribution to the growth of football in the region.”

Appearing on behalf of CONCACAF, the ex-footballer and former President of the Mexican Football Association Enrique Borja also highlighted the role both positions fulfil in long-term planning, and expressed his gratitude to FIFA for the “quality and content” of the seminar.

Sustainable development
With a view to laying the basis for sustainable programmes, a number of case studies analysing pilot schemes implemented in local member associations were presented, among them Nicaragua’s Goal Programme. Other cases relating to the development of futsal and grassroots, women’s and beach football also came up for discussion.

Delegates were handed a report detailing the progress made thanks to the Win in CONCACAF with CONCACAF Programme, and also received updates on the Goal and Financial Assistance Programmes. In one of the seminar’s closing acts, CONCACAF’s Information and Services Director Steven Torres spoke of the importance of both internal and external communications and media relations.

Speaking before the participants headed off to watch the final of the Pan-American Games Football Tournament between Mexico and Argentina, which the hosts won 1-0, the President of the Mexican Football Association Justino Compean, expressed his gratitude to world football’s governing body: “I would like to thank FIFA for giving us the opportunity to host this seminar. It is always an honour to welcome you, and even more so when the topic up for discussion is fundamental to the development of the game in our region.”