(GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CARICOM Secretariat) FIFA and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat held a kick-off meeting on 9 March to discuss the development of a collaboration plan under the CARICOM-FIFA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The MoU, signed in May 2021, established a mechanism between the two parties to strengthen collaboration to promote sports integrity and social responsibility, while furthering the development of football in the Region.
In welcoming participants to the meeting, Director within the Directorate of Human and Social Development, Helen Royer said the meeting had been “long in the making.”
She recalled that the 34th Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development in May 2018, CARICOM Ministers of Education had received a presentation from FIFA’s Director of Member Associations for Africa and the Caribbean on the organisation’s programme for the development of football in the Region.
The need for greater emphasis on quality, the relationship between football development and youth resiliency factors, and the commercial value in football development, were key highlights of those discussions which led to the signing of the MoU between FIFA and CARICOM.
Ms. Royer expressed appreciation to FIFA for their commitment to partnering with the Secretariat, noting that the Secretariat looks forward to the outcomes of the discussions and the regional public goods that will be developed.
“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to spend time with our friends and colleagues from CARICOM to begin this very important collaboration,” said Joyce Cook, FIFA’s Chief Social Responsibility and Education Officer.
“The aim of this memorandum was always to use football, and the spotlight it shines, to act as a catalyst for positive social development within the region,” she added.
Within the MoU, FIFA, together with its member associations, agreed to support training for competitions, players, coaches, officials, administrators, and physical education teachers. Other key focus areas include measures for the protection of children and vulnerable adults involved in football activities.
During the workshop, representatives of FIFA and the Secretariat discussed key areas for collaboration that will result in tangible and impactful sporting and social development. Topics covered by FIFA during the kick-off meeting were social responsibility, child safeguarding, the safe sport entity initiative, sports integrity, communications, and football development. FIFA also informed of the recent success of the Football for Schools programme.
The CARICOM Secretariat provided an overview of the Community’s multi-modal approach to Sport, both as a social development tool through the development programmes within the 15 Member States and five Associate Members of the Caribbean Community, as well as facilitating Sport as a tradeable service within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and between the CSME and the rest of the world for. The CARICOM Secretariat also highlighted (i) existing Regional and national enabling policies and infrastructures which serve as assets for sports development, as well as previous experiences in implementing youth empowerment initiatives using sports as the vehicle; and (ii) elements of the Community’s Draft Regional Strategic Plan and Implementation Plan for Trade in Sporting Services, flagging areas such treating Sport as a business (especially Sports Tourism), establishing the necessary Intellectual Property Rights infrastructure to promote cross border trade; and investment in physical infrastructure (stadia and training facilities).
The kick-off meeting assessed the specific areas in which fruitful collaboration could be achieved. The assessments took into consideration CARICOM’s commitments around strengthening human capital development and accelerating Regional integration through the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. The evaluation also incorporated FIFA’s commitments to protect positive values in football and positively impact society through the power of football – goals of the FIFA President’s Vision 2020-2023.