‘Developing the game’ was the key phrase at the FIFA Seminar for General Secretaries from Europe which took place in Oslo on Thursday, 10 April. The event was attended by representatives of FIFA’s 53 Member Associations in Europe as part of 11 special development seminars which will have taken place across the globe between September 2013 and summer 2014. This was the first of its kind in Europe, as world football’s governing body seeks to engage all of its members in a far-reaching consultation process.The meetings are a key platform for FIFA and its associations to continue dialogue on football governance reforms and discuss potential challenges in football development.
“FIFA is in the middle of one year of seminars to introduce and explain the changes happening on the development programmes as well as changes coming from FIFA reforms,” explained FIFA’s Director of Member Associations and Development Thierry Regenass. “It is important for FIFA not only to inform the Member Associations about it, but to exchange ideas directly; FIFA wants to always have an open dialogue with its Member Associations.”
“Football is played by hundreds of millions of players, but only around 60,000 are professionals, which means that only 0.02 per cent are professionals. It means that, even if we constantly are watching these 0.02 per cent, especially those involved in continental competitions and national teams, we must always remember that our responsibility as football institutions is much larger than that, it’s towards all the players at all levels.”
Following a packed schedule the General Secretaries learned more about the Handshake for Peace initiative during a visit to the Nobel Peace Centre, Match Manipulation, FIFA TMS as well as FIFA’s Reform Process and its subsequent impact on new regulations regarding its development programmes.
The seminar concluded with three guest speakers: Dr. Dirk Steinbach (SPIN Sport Innovation), Kelly Simmons (Director of the National Game and Women’s Football at the FA) and Alex Miescher (General Secretary of the Swiss FA). They all stressed the need for the Member Associations to recognise the vital role of volunteers in grassroots football and to plan for their recruitment, development and retainment.
It was a productive period for all involved and Theodore Theodoridis, UEFA’s Deputy General Secretary, voiced his thanks to FIFA on the seminar’s conclusion. “I’d like to thank FIFA for the organisation of the seminar and for good cooperation between FIFA and UEFA for the good of the game in the region,” he said.