FIFA, the Fédération Française de Football (FFF), Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (KNVB), and Concacaf Member Associations recently signed a collaboration agreement in the Home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, providing a more established formal framework to strengthen their cooperation on football development.
Concacaf’s full Member Associations of Bonaire, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin and Sint Maarten formalized the unprecedented agreement following a meeting between Concacaf President Victor Montagliani, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, as well as the FFF, the KNVB and federations’ representatives.
As part of its efforts to assist Member Associations, Concacaf plays an important role as advocate for further integration and deepened cooperation with the international football community and key stakeholders - including FIFA, the FFF, and KNVB - in order to facilitate access to programs that promote development, build capacity and enhance the contribution of member nations to grow the game.
President Montagliani referred to the signing of the agreement in the following manner:
"This agreement marks an important milestone for the Confederation reflecting our One Concacaf Vision and commitment to support these Member Associations’ mission and contributions to the game. Establishing a platform of mutual cooperation is a key step in promoting a stronger integration of our non-FIFA members to the football family, while providing assistance to fuel their efforts to grow the sport within the Caribbean.”
The collaboration agreement covers a number of development areas including technical support and training for coaches, referees, grassroots and youth programs, women’s football, empowerment through football in overseas territories, and measures to improve the management of the leagues.
Speaking about the agreement with FIFA and the FFF, the Ligue Guadeloupéenne de Football President, Jean Dartron, said:
“Guadeloupian football witnessed a historic moment in Zurich. The combined efforts of the leagues of French Guiana, Martinique and Saint Martin led to the signing of a protocol with FIFA. The determination of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the engagement of the FFF President Noël Legraet and the support of Concacaf President Victor Montagliani demonstrate that the governing football bodies are taking into account the issues faced by the youth of our territories to showcase their talents through their favorite sport.”
He added: “The starting point of this collaboration, where the overarching goal is and remains enabling Guadeloupian players, opens highly promising prospects for us to shine within Concacaf, and for a development of our football where we can improve the level of our referees, instructors and supervisors…This protocol is a source of great ambition for our football. Together with our colleagues from French Guiana, Martinique and Saint Martin, we will be continuing the discussions with the governing bodies, for sports equity to be at the service of our youth.”
Commenting on the agreement, the Ligue de Football de Saint-Martin President, Fabrice Baly, said:
“This protocol with FIFA and the FFF is indeed historic and essential for football development in our territory. This framework allows us to look into the future with ambition, to gain access to strategic FIFA resources, trainings, and development programs from FIFA for our executives, directors, referees. It enables us to break free of barriers that limited our sport potential, while instilling hope to reach professionalization, given our dual culture. This agreement is a step towards sports equity in the area, provides financial assistance, strengthens our ties with the great family of world football, and can enable our territories to be more competitive.”
Saint Maarten Soccer Association President Sudesh Singh added: “The agreement with FIFA and KNVB is very important to us as a small nation to develop our football. The signature is the final touch on a very important working agreement which was already in progress, now with the involvement of KNVB and FIFA, sky will be the limit for our game. We are a very young football nation and this agreement couldn't have come at a better time for us. It has opens doors and opportunity to develop all aspects of football in our nation, especially with the Concacaf Nations League around the corner. I am very proud and humble for the effort Concacaf is doing to improve football in our territory and grateful to FIFA and KNVB.”