“I live my life and I say every day that I could never give back to the game what the game has given me”
Manchester, September 9, 2014 – During an in-depth interview session Tuesday at the Soccerex conference in Manchester, England, CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb presented some of the key elements of his vision for the Confederation and the game.
While the FIFA Vice President and Chairman of the Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task spoke with former FA CEO David Davies, he also shared the meaningful personal events as a player, administrator and fan that prepared him for his current leadership role at the Confederation’s helm.
The conversation was ignited by CONCACAF’s successes at the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, which were achieved as a direct result of vision and focused investment in youth and player development.
For the first time in history, CONCACAF advanced three national teams beyond the World Cup group stage, attaining the second-highest success rate of all Confederations. This feat helped unify the region’s fan base in support of all CONCACAF qualified teams in a way never previously experienced.
“Brazil 2014 was certainly a World Cup to remember and, for CONCACAF, it was a success on multiple levels.” said Webb. “Faced against opponents of great magnitude and skill, CONCACAF teams demonstrated that they can compete against any team in the world. As the region gains respect and appreciation in the global football arena, these accomplishments become proof of the tangible development that holds the promise of a fourth full spot in future FIFA World Cups for CONCACAF.”
Reminiscing on the past, since CONCACAF was founded in 1961, the region has successfully hosted three World Cups (Mexico 1970, 1986; USA 1994). In the past two years, CONCACAF has rebuilt its foundation and acted decisively to reform the Confederation. It continues to move forward by investing in its future.
“It’s not up to me to judge past administrations, but to build on their successes with responsibility, commitment and transparency,” Webb told the broader audience. “CONCACAF is working tirelessly on developing the game and providing solid foundations for every Member Association to thrive.”
CONCACAF has turned its focus on developing the game in a region of approximately 540 million people, servicing all of its 41 member associations with a diverse group of programs aimed at creating sustainable platforms.
“I have a clear agenda that focuses on the field of play and on players, grassroots programs and development,” added Webb. “We are building a Confederation in harmony with righteousness, prosperity and inclusiveness. And we are doing so with a passionate and vigorous approach with the hopes that new generations can be inspired to participate in the game.”
The Confederation experienced a 110% increase in commercial activities in 2013, demonstrating the growing support for the sport. Across all areas, CONCACAF continues to recognize the importance of working together with one vision for the benefit all stakeholders.
In just the past 13 months, CONCACAF has had exemplary achievements, such as: Embrace Diversity, its regional campaign to promote integration within football; a record-breaking Gold Cup; inaugural Under-15 Championships for boys and girls; the 2016 Centennial Cup America announcement and hosting all FIFA Women’s tournaments during that period.
“We have made tremendous progress with regional development,” Webb explained. “CONCACAF will be investing an estimated 70% of its budget over the next 12 months in some 80 development programs across the Confederation. We will continue to prioritize areas with the greatest opportunities such as competitions, grassroots, Futsal, Beach and Women’s football.”
CONCACAF’s diversity and size represents a challenge, but also an opportunity for development. The need to unite such diverse nations calls for an integral and sustainable regional vision and a long term commitment to the project.
“I live my life and I say every day that I could never give back to the game what the game has given me,” added Webb.
When addressing the topic of FIFA, Webb mentioned that the game is in a great place from a World Cup, competitions, revenues and commercial standpoints thanks to the governing body.
Nevertheless, the global landscape of the game has clearly changed. Based on the measures implemented so far, FIFA is in the process of accomplishing a successful reform plan and it will continue to adapt its structures and procedures where relevant and on the basis of the evolving needs of the organization and the game. It is imperative to look into the future to gain perspective on how this beautiful game will evolve.
As some of the aspects to further expand FIFA’s reform process, Webb expressed the need to look closer into rebalancing the Executive Committee with proportionate representation, incorporating independent board members and open voting.