The first meeting of the FIFA Development Committee in its new composition, which includes independent members from outside football, took place in Zurich today. The committee, chaired by FIFA vice-president and AFC President Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, is responsible for analysing the basic aspects of football training and technical development, among FIFA’s 211 Member Associations, which can be strengthened through the Forward Programme.

Forward is FIFA’s overhauled development programme approved by the FIFA Congress in May 2016 that aims to provide 360-degree, tailor-made support for developing football, based on more investment, more impact and more oversight. MAs and confederations can now apply for development funds under the Forward programme and have until 1 June 2017 to wrap up their contracts of agreed objectives with key performance indicators.

Until that date, the committee will consider projects for approval on a case-by-case basis. In this regard, the consensus among committee members was the importance of monitoring MA projects granted funding through the Forward programme, to ensure that funding is spent on the development of football. 

Opening the meeting FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “This committee is very important to our members and I saw this first-hand during my visits to the MAs around the world. For many of our members the Forward funds will be the only funds they receive to develop football in their countries so over the last year we have taken steps to ensure that we invest more money in football then before. We must invest in football, think football and most importantly, live football.”

Fifty six new projects have been approved for the development of football globally. Speaking about the Forward Programme, Development Committee Chair Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, said: “Forward is to help and support people around the world. It’s not about politics we want to support and grow the game. As long as we are convinced that the projects looking for our support are in line with the values of Forward and are transparent, we are happy to support them.”