A two-day FIFA/OFC Club Licensing Seminar which got underway in Auckland, New Zealand today aims to introduce the positive impact that club licensing has on football development, and how it will link to the revamped OFC Champions League format.
Representatives from FIFA, OFC, each Member Associations in the OFC region, club football experts from the Americas, Asia and Europe are meeting to exchange and discuss a variety of club licensing matters.
OFC Club Licensing Manager Chris Kemp says it is important for OFC and its members to continue improving their club competitions and FIFA’s club licensing system is a good place to start. “FIFA’s club licensing system sets minimum standards for clubs in key areas such as stadium safety, fan experience and youth football development,” he explained.
“Through this seminar, we envision a greater understanding of club licensing and how the adoption of such a system in the OFC region will improve playing conditions and promote and develop the game.”
The seminar will cover a variety of professional football topics, including FIFA and OFC club licensing initiatives and how to link OFC development programmes with these systems.
Fiji national team captain Roy Krishna, who is enjoying a professional career with New Zealand’s only professional club the Wellington Phoenix that participates in Australia's A-League, was also in attendance. “When I started we had nothing,“ Krishna told FIFA.com. “Good Management and Infrastructure, proper pitches and coaches, these are important for us as players to develop and to perform. For me, this is why club licensing is such an important mindset for the OFC region.”
“A professional Academy would have benefited me as a young player, I could have learned much more about the game in early years. I would like to help providing better circumstances for Fiji talents, to promote their way into a professional football career," said Krishna, who is Fiji’s only current professional footballer.
"If we implement Club Licensing there will be a lot of professional players from OFC like me – from everywhere American Samoa, Tahiti, Vanuatu, not only from Fiji,” he added.
FIFA's Head of Professional Football James Johnson said that Krishna was the first active player to participate in a club licensing seminar and the experience was very positive.
"Clubs and players are directly affected by decisions we as governing bodies make on professional football matters. As an active player employed by a professional club, Krishna provides valuable insight into the importance of player development pathways through clubs leading to national teams and professional playing careers. Such pathways are an integral part of the FIFA club licensing system,"Johnson said.
The FIFA/OFC Club Licensing Seminar takes place from 22-23 September in Auckland, New Zealand with participants including the Presidents, CEOs and competition managers from all 11 OFC Member Associations.