Future strategies identified at FIFA Forward workshop in Mexico

  • Mexico City was the venue for the second FIFA Forward Development Programme workshop

  • Twelve member associations originating from North and Central Americas, and the Spanish speaking Caribbean took part

  • Aim was to lay the foundations for the Programme’s next cycle

On 17-19 April, representatives from 12 member associations originating from North and Central Americas, and the Spanish speaking Caribbean met in Mexico City to discuss the current status of the FIFA Forward Development Programme and to share expertise and experiences with FIFA, all with the aim of identifying the challenges facing the region in the next few years.

In what was a very productive gathering, the associations took a close look at how the FIFA Forward Development Programme is operating, its current scope, and where its future lies. FIFA representatives then fielded questions on the development of the programme's first cycle, which comes to a conclusion this year. The discussions then focused onthe next cycle, which aims to safeguard the development of football in the region.

“It is very important for us at FIFA, especially those of us from the Technical Development Division, to be taking part in these workshops,” said Philip Zimmermann, FIFA Manager of Grassroots and Youth Development. “Zurich is a long way away from the Americas, so it’s very interesting to hear what the member associations needs, be in a position to answer their queries, and to help out with the region's development.”

Over the course of the three days, participants worked on consolidating concepts and processes for presenting projects and financial governance, the idea being to improve the effectiveness and management of the resources FIFA allocates to the development of football.

Best practice examples were presented as part of the workshop, with the national associations of Costa Rica, Mexico and USA revealing details of projects that, with the support of the FIFA Forward Development Programme, have contributed to improve the standard of football in their countries. They also discussed their strategies for continued growth.

The importance of strategic planning was emphasised at the event, as was the inclusion of best management practices for generating sustainable benefits on short and long term basisThese strategies will be rolled out with suitable structures and resources to enable associations to face up to the challenges posed by today’s professional game.

The association’s strategic framework is also a key part of the Objectives Agreement signed with FIFA for the next cycle (2019-2022) of the FIFA Forward Development Programme.

In discussing this, Jair Bertoni, FIFA’s Director of Member Associations Americas, added: “It is important for FIFA to be able to support associations and help them to use FIFA Forward Development Programme funding in the most efficient way, not just in terms of finance and development but also with a view to drawing up and planning high-impact, sustainable projects for football in the Americas region.”

The workshop also featured round tables, which provided FIFA’s specialists with an opportunity to advise associations on their strategic cornerstones, and enable participants to discuss the state of the game in their countries and interact with a view to sharing and discussing projects, objectives, opportunities and challenges with one common goal: to ensure football development fulfils all its potential.

CONCACAF’s participation was crucial to the success of the event and reflected its high level of cooperation with FIFA in ensuring proper support is given to the development of the game in its region.

What they said

“It’s been an excellent event. We needed meetings like this, where we can share the best practice of each association, because it benefits us all. That’s why I applaud FIFA’s efforts to forge closer ties with us and standardise processes.” Marco Gonzalez, Head of the Mexican Football Association’s Audit Office

“We’ve taken part in this second workshop and the impression I have as a member of this region and as a member of the FIFA Development Committee is that it has exceeded expectations. We’ve really got the Forward concept on the right track because the associations have taken this wonderful project on board in a truly positive way.” Eric Labrador, President of the Puerto Rican Football Association

“It’s been a big help for our association because we’ve been able to see how other associations put their strategic plans together and how they use the resources of the FIFA programme to get every possible advantage from it.” Matt Reiswerg, US Soccer Development Academy Senior Manager