FIFA's eleven member associations in Oceania came together this week for a workshop focused on Forward 3.0
The latest iteration of FIFA Forward will see an approximate increase of 30% in global football development funding
“This workshop will inspire us to further professionalise our football and to realise the dreams we have for the football of the future."
The Limelight Room at Auckland's Aotea Centre was the venue for a workshop this week which invited Presidents, General Secretaries and Forward Managers of Oceania Football Confederation member associations (MAs) to come together.
The topic in the limelight, was FIFA Forward 3.0 , the latest iteration of FIFA's development programme which will run until 2026, and will see a rise of close to 30 per cent in funds invested in football development. The session was presented by Hassan Khan, Senior Project Manager , Member Associations Division.
The group first attended the FIFA Women's World Cup Play-Off Tournament, lending their support to Oceania's remaining team - Papua New Guinea - who succumbed 2-0 to Panama. Over the next two days, the focus was then on a combination of group presentations and Q&A sessions, where MA representatives got to ask questions about the new Forward cycle. Bilateral meeting opportunities were also available for individual MAs to discuss their own respective plans, with FIFA's Development team, represented by among others, Director of FIFA Member Associations, Asia & Oceania, Sanjeevan Balasingam, Regional Development Office Development Manager David Firisua and his Auckland team , and Development Programmes Manager, FIFA Member Associations Asia & Oceania, Francis Molasoko.
Speaking at the end of December 2022, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “When we launched the FORWARD development programme, FIFA embarked upon a new era of global football development that is now heading into its third cycle. It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football. “The new cycle will provide increased investment, greater impact through the achievement of football development objectives and continued oversight to ensure that all funds are used responsibly.”
FIFA Forward 3.0
President of the Oceania Football Confederation Lambert Maltock committed more than 35 years of service to football in Vanuatu, prior to taking on his current role in 2018. As an archipelago consisting of over eighty relatively small islands, his own personal experience therefore stood him in good stead for the different challenges facing his member associations, which span from New Zealand in the south, through to ten other nations situated across the South Pacific Ocean.
“FIFA Forward instils a commitment from all of us to develop football" the OFC President said on the side lines of the workshop. "It helps us to set targets, re-shape our management and strategic planning. What do we want to achieve? "In the last two years, our MAs were impacted in particular by the COVID pandemic. This workshop was all about how we plan. To aspire to further professionalise our football and to realise the dreams we have for the football of the future."
David Firisua is FIFA’s Regional Development Manager based in Auckland. How does his role, and that of his team, support the member associations? “Our main mandate is the delivery of the FIFA Forward development programme for the region, here, in Oceania" he explained. "To consolidate all of FIFA’s efforts and ensure that for the MAs, FIFA are there to support them to achieve their development objectives. “In the last cycle, FIFA Forward 2.0, the majority of investment was in infrastructure development. Of course, concurrently, it’s especially important to ensure that we build capacity in our region, and to ensure that our national teams are well supported – to provide them with the best support available to give them a competitive advantage when they are on the world scene. "There are a multitude of benefits available to our MAs, and we know that under FIFA Forward 3.0, these opportunities will continue to be enhanced for our region.”
In July and August, the biggest names in women's football will arrive in Australia and New Zealand for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™. It provides a unique opportunity to highlight how the different Divisions of FIFA work together for the benefit of its MAs. As exemplified by the presence of Arijana Demirovic, FIFA's Head of Women’s Football Development at the workshop. "Within the women’s football division, we offer eight development programmes to MAs,” said Demirovic. "The idea is to provide a framework to develop their women’s football strategy; work on a grassroots development pathway for their girls, as well as develop individuals across different areas, whether it’s administrators, leaders or coaches. "It complements Forward 3.0 and looks at the areas in which an MA wants to invest in women’s football. From the strategy, it becomes much easier to tailor those existing programmes to their needs. That’s really what we want to achieve with the programmes." As tournament co-host, New Zealand qualified automatically for the FIFA Women's World Cup later this year. This provided a unique opportunity for an additional OFC member association to potentially qualify. An opportunity that FIFA supported them to try and capitalise on.
"The idea was to support the preparation of their women’s national teams to potentially qualify for the [FIFA] Women’s World Cup, via a group of experts" continued Demirovic. "With the tournament being co-hosted in the region, this has also been utilised as a tool to increase participation, to increase awareness and also tackle some of those cultural challenges that we have across different MAs when it comes to girls and women having access to football. " The implementation of theoretical concepts into cultural changing practical reality is ultimately in the hands of football's leaders. In the case of OFC President Lambert Maltock, there should be little doubt what the future holds. "I think the impact of this World Cup will be huge. All the girls and the people who like women’s football will be coming to Australia and New Zealand this year" he said. "I assure you that we are committed to bringing the development of women’s football parallel with the men’s programmes. It is compulsory for all MAs. Women’s football must have the same priority: the number one priority for Oceania. We cannot just bring the Women’s World Cup here and let it have no impact for the future."
Find out about FIFA Forward's background and proposition.
The core principles
Find out more about the FIFA Forward core principles.
Explore the history of the FIFA Forward Programme since the first edition in 2016.