The Professional Football Department manages a variety of programmes aimed at promoting the professionalisation of the game all around the world, overseeing the implementation of club licensing worldwide and developing bespoke projects for clubs and leagues. In addition, several knowledge-sharing events are organised every year to promote best practices in club football.
Professionalisation of Leagues
The department provides tailor-made support to clubs and leagues in areas such as strategic planning, governance, competition formats, etc., assisting in setting up leagues and in business development. The projects are developed on request, and usually in collaboration with the sub‑divisions of FIFA’s Member Associations Division, with FIFA responding in an advisory capacity to a specific need presented by a member association and/or league organiser. Completed and ongoing league professionalisation projects include:
- Botswana 2020: business and strategic plan for forming a self-managed league
- Nepal 2020: analysis of top-tier competition and providing assistance on how to professionalise the league
- China 2019: guidance on the professional league structure and how to enhance the club licensing system
- Dominican Republic 2019: recommendations and advice on establishing an independent league
- New Zealand 2019: benchmarking and recommendations on the competition calendar
- Peru 2018: strategic planning for new professional league to be organised by the MA
- India 2018: consultation process and assistance on league structure roadmap
- Panama 2018: recommendations for the professionalisation of the league’s operations and commercialisation
FIFA Club Licensing
FIFA’s Club Licensing Handbook is a key tool for professionalising clubs and leagues. It uses principle-based criteria and sets minimum standards which clubs must satisfy in order to be licensed and, consequently, b able to participate in a given competition.
Professional Football Conferences
Every year, the Professional Football Department organises several conferences, seminars and workshops to bring together industry experts, with the objective of sharing knowledge, best practices and latest trends affecting the overall club football ecosystem.
These events cover a wide range of topics. The Professional Football Conference 2020 will address topics such as the importance of data-driven decisions, good management practices for small and medium-sized clubs, and how to maximise stadium-related revenues. A list of previous Professional Football Conferences is included below:
- Buenos Aires, Argentina: 2018 FIFA Professional Football Conference in collaboration with CONMEBOL
- Orlando, USA: 2018 FIFA Professional Football Conference in collaboration with Concacaf
- San José, Costa Rica: 2017 FIFA Professional Football Conference in collaboration with Concacaf
- Asunción, Paraguay: 2017 FIFA Professional Football Conference in collaboration with CONMEBOL
- Cairo, Egypt: 2017 FIFA Professional Football Conference in collaboration with CAF
- Asunción, Paraguay: 2016 FIFA Professional Football Conference in collaboration with CONMEBOL