FIFA Details Improved Investment Plan for National Federations

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(WFI) FIFA is moving ahead with the revamp of its development program aimed at injecting millions more dollars into the work of football associations around the world.

Chaired by FIFA vice-president and Asian football chief Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the FIFA development committee met in Zurich Wednesday to finalize Forward, the initiative approved by congress in May.

Increasing financial support for FAs from $1.6 million to $5 million over four years was one of Gianni Infantino’s key election manifesto pledges.

On the promise of bigger cash handouts for FIFA’s 207 federations, he was elected Feb. 26.

The confederations will now receive $40 million per four-year cycle, up from $22 million.

FIFA’s members and confederations are now invited to apply for development funds under the Forward program.

Under what FIFA calls its “tailor-made support for developing football”, world football’s governing body said today it will bring together all of its football support projects into one “contract of agreed objectives” to be signed by member associations and confederations.

After the scandals that have ripped FIFA apart over the past 18 months,including the storm that blew up over Sepp Blatter and Jerome Valcke awarding themselves millions of dollars in bonuses and expenses, the world federation appears keen to avoid making the mistakes of the past.

Today’s meeting took place in the presence of the new chairman of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee Toma┼ż Vesel, the man chosen to replace Domenico Scala who quit in disgust claiming governance reforms had been undermined.

FIFA promises to introduce “enhanced oversight controls” to ensure transparency over the increase in football development spending. This will include publication of member associations’ and confederations’ annual financial statements on and annual accounts being audited by an independent auditor.

Infantino, who was also present at today’s committee meeting, said: “This is not simply about providing more funds to member associations and confederations, but about providing concrete assistance to the football community via the transparent use of funds, and changing the culture towards a greater impact of FIFA’s development activities that can systematically be measured.”

Shaikh Salman said in a statement that progress on the Forward program was a significant step “to improve the impact of FIFA’s development projects and better serve the member associations and confederations”.

“The proper structure is being put in place to meet the challenges and ensure the successful implementation of the Forward program.” FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura, who has oversight of the Forward program, commented on the importance of proper implementation “with enhanced accountability, regular monitoring and reporting”.

FIFA members and confederations have until June 1 to finalize their contracts of agreed objectives with key performance indicators. Ahead of that deadline, the development committee said it will consider projects for approval on a case-by-case basis.

Wednesday’s development committee meeting was the last one in its current incarnation. Under FIFA reforms passed at congress, its make-up will be revamped with half of its members being independent.The first meeting of the new-look committee takes place in October.

By INSIDER Mark Bisson

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