• Series of workshops across the world see Member Associations (MAs) come together
  • Information and advice on the new FIFA FORWARD programme central to meetings
  • Recent meeting in Fiji saw Oceania’s MAs discuss important topics

FIFA is moving forward with its agenda to develop the game globally and bring member associations (MAs) together to discuss the best direction for new projects. The FIFA FORWARD programme has already seen workshops held around the world to make sure as many associations and confederations as possible are up to speed with the new funding opportunities available.

The workshops bring together representatives from MAs, including presidents, general secretaries, development officers and finance directors along with representatives from FIFA and the confederations. Those involved for FIFA include representatives from the Member Associations Division as well as from the Women’s and Technical Divisions.

In November 2016, all ten South American MAs met for the inaugural FIFA FORWARD workshop in Asuncion, Paraguay to discuss the programme in detail. This was followed the subsequent month by workshops in South Africa and Djibouti, which saw representatives from the COSAFA and CECAFA regions of CAF attend respectively, and Singapore, with representatives from some of Asia’s MAs meeting.

This calendar year has already seen further workshops: in Suriname, Jamaica and Panama (for CONCACAF members); Zurich, Dublin and Minsk (for UEFA members); Congo DR, Egypt and Côte d'Ivoire (for the remaining CAF members); and Bangkok and Oman (for AFC members).

Discussions at the workshops have centred on further explaining and clarifying the MAs’ role in the FIFA FORWARD programme and how to further develop the game in their countries. One of the key factors of the discussions revolve around the MAs' strategic plan and Contract of Agreed Objectives (CAO). This is a document which highlights the sustainable long-term planning in each MA, and every requested project has to be in line with the objectives outlined in the CAO.

Joyce Cook, FIFA’s Chief Member Associations Officer, has overseen all of these workshops since beginning her role in November 2016, along with the four Regional Directors; Sanjeevan Balasingam (Asia and Oceania), Jair Bertoni (Americas), Veron Mosengo-Omba (Africa and Caribbean), Bjorn Vassallo (Europe).

Balasingam oversaw the recent workshop in Fiji, and was delighted with the progress made.

"Oceania is a region where FIFA can make a big difference through development," Balasingam said. "It’s a pleasure to work with the different football administrators to ensure they can make full use of what’s available and do so in a compliant and transparent fashion. We have been able to share information relating to development projects but also the importance of technical development and women’s football in an association’s overall strategy."

The Asia and Oceania Regional Director, whose appointment in the newly-formed role was announced in December, knows that the workshops are the first step on a long road for the MAs and their respective projects. The MAs present at the Oceania meeting included hosts Fiji and the Solomon Islands.

"The workshop was very timely as we all get closer to making applications or getting ready to apply for release of funds under FIFA’s new FORWARD Programme," Bob Kumar, CEO of the Fijian FA said. "The face-to-face questions and answers plus explanations by various presenters were very beneficial to all, particularly to the smaller federations. A lot of clarity was established for the delegates on how to satisfy FIFA requirements on the handling and management of funds under the FIFA FORWARD Programme. I found it to be a very fruitful workshop."

"This workshop was very useful for us to better understand the philosophy of FORWARD and how to prepare our Contract of Agreed Objectives," Joseph Boso, acting CEO of the Solomon Islands FA said. "It was also an opportunity to share experiences with colleagues from the region and ask question to FIFA and OFC."

Plans are already in place to ensure Member Associations have the opportunity to attend such workshops on an annual basis, to share their progress and best practice examples in developing football around the globe. 

Key numbers
40 million USD available per four-year cycle, per Confederation
5 million USD available per four-year cycle, per MA  
750,000 USD available per year for football projects for each MA (pitches, competitions, women’s football)
500,000 USD available per year for running costs for each MA (administration and good governance)