Representatives from 14 West African countries as well as clubs and other stakeholders have taken part in a club licensing seminar for member associations in the CAF Centre of Excellence in Cameroon.
The two-day seminar, which was organised by FIFA in collaboration with CAF, was kicked off by the former Senegal international Khalilou Fadiga. The former Club Brugge and Auxerre star shared his experiences of European club football and explained how FIFA is working to implement a global licensing framework that sets minimum standards for clubs in key areas such as stadium safety, fan experience and youth football development.
“As a former professional player in different countries, I’ve seen exactly what goes into making a club successful and how African football will benefit from the initiatives taken,” said the 41-year-old former midfielder, who starred for Senegal in their memorable 2002 FIFA World Cup™ campaign.
Former Cameroon international Rigobert Song, who represented Les Lions Indomptables in four FIFA World Cups, shared his international experience and knowledge with participants at the seminar's closing .
James Johnson, FIFA’s Head of Professional Football, explained why the world governing body is so invested in the club licensing process: “The club licensing system will professionalise club football across key areas, including infrastructure, administration, legal, finance and technical. With the introduction and implementation of club licensing, our long-term goal is clear: to raise the standard of clubs, leagues and national associations around the world.”
The aim of this latest seminar was to introduce participants to the potential and positive impact that club licensing and CAF’s implementation plan will have on shaping the future of African club football and the game in Africa generally. It also acted as a forum for discussions and the exchange of experiences with experts and key stakeholders, with Pierre Gondo of CAF’s Club Licensing Committee among those speaking out.
“It is important for CAF and its members to continue improving our club competitions,” he said. “The CAF club licensing system is a vital tool and valuable ingredient to take our prospering club competitions to the next level. This will benefit clubs, players and all other stakeholders simultaneously.”
This latest club licensing seminars follows those organised earlier this year in Panama, South Africa, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Morocco, with others set to follow in New Zealand and elsewhere as FIFA continues to support its confederations and member associations in implementing the system.