After numerous years spent consolidating development-related efforts undertaken since 1998, FIFA began to adopt a new approach in 2011. This new cycle, and those that are set to follow it, should see the implementation of several changes related to support measures offered to members.

FIFA aims to move from an assistance-based role towards one that is more focused on guidance, and then on facilitation, and eventually on strengthening institutions and football development, depending on improvements noted to each member association’s situation.

To achieve this, new programmes and different approaches have either already been launched or are currently at the preparation stage. PERFORMANCE, FIFA’s football management programme, has entered an implementation phase involving standardised operations and formalised goals. Regional approaches are used on an increasingly frequent basis, such as for member associations’ IT supply strategies, in order to make the most of similar synergies and situations.

Another change that has come about is the increased desire to help associations as much as possible in creating, maintaining and expanding their own football competitions, be they at senior, elite, grassroots or youth level, with a steadily increasing emphasis on the latter.

As football’s world governing body, it is our responsibility to support any initiative aimed at improving football infrastructure.

Specifically, the following four new programmes were approved by the FIFA Executive Committee in December 2011 in Tokyo, Japan:

- A governance programme and  institutional-strengthening measures for member associations
- A global registration system for players and other individuals involved in football
- An income generation and diversification programme for associations
- Development projects, sporting infrastructure and tournament logistics

In view of the increase in the per-project contribution for the period running from 2011 to 2014, approximately 200 additional Goal projects should be given the green light during this new cycle.

It goes without saying that the ‘historical’ development programmes such as FAP (Financial Assistance Programme) or FIFA-run courses have continued to serve member associations. For example, in 2011, a total of 52 Goal projects were allocated, 464 courses (in a variety of areas including coaching, women’s football, Futsal and refereeing) were run, and each association that met the stipulated conditions received an annual financial contribution from FAP.

But the changing face of development has also had a knock-on effect on other programmes.

This has manifested itself in a desire to direct the allocated Goal projects towards federations’ technical initiatives, especially those aimed at young people (youth academies, development of Futsal, beach soccer and women’s football etc.), and in the signing of agreements with federations that underline commitments made during grassroots football seminars. These changes should help to take the efforts made by federations onto the next level. 

The means used to work on achieving extensive change in football, at grassroots level, where the sport is still a question of potential and objectives, must also change in turn. This is why FIFA wishes to revitalise its programmes, as it did in 2011, and as will be the case for the next three years of the 2011-2014 cycle.