FIFA and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat last Wednesday held a kick-off meeting to discuss the development of a collaboration plan under the CARICOM-FIFA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
FIFA said the MoU, signed in 2021, “established a mechanism between the two parties to strengthen collaboration to promote sports integrity and social responsibility, while furthering the development of football (soccer) in the region.”
In her opening remarks, Director within the Directorate of Human and Social Development, Helen Royer, recalled that at 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 organization’s program 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,” the FIFA statement said.
Royer expressed appreciation to FIFA for its 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.
She said 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.”
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, FIFA said.
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,” according to FIFA.
It said topics covered 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 program.
The CARICOM Secretariat provided an overview of the community’s multi-modal approach to sport, as a social development tool through the development programs within its 15-member and five associate states.
Attendees also heard how the Community proposes to use sport as a tradeable service within and external to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), FIFA said.
“In line with 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 — and with the CARICOM region’s commitments around strengthening human capital development and accelerating regional integration through the CSME — the kick-off meeting assessed the specific areas in which fruitful collaboration could be achieved in the future,” the statement said.