UEFA Assist: Looking back at five years of supporting world football inside uefa

This week, UEFA Assist’s team of development specialists are celebrating five years of the program helping to develop football outside Europe.

The first subsidiary projects were launched in November 2017 to support UEFA’s sister confederations: Confederation of Asian Football (AFC), Confederation of African Football (CAF), Confederation of North, Central and Caribbean (CONCACAF), Confederation of South American Football (CONMEBOL). ) and the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC). Thus they allow these associations to share and develop their knowledge, while transmitting to them the expertise and experience of European football in a spirit of friendship and solidarity in favor of the development of the sport in the world.

UEFA’s Support Initiative focuses on the following four objectives:

• developing capability
• Development of youth football
• Strengthening of infrastructure
• Support to UEFA member associations in setting up their own solidarity programs

Over the past five years, Assist has supported more than 400 projects in 120 countries, and many of UEFA’s 55 national member associations have contributed in addition to UEFA funding to help world football reach the highest possible level Is.

Below, we review five examples of projects implemented over the past five years on five continents, illustrating the invaluable impact of the ASSIST program, both on and off the field.

Asian Football Confederation (AFC): organization off the pitch

A packed stadium in Bhutan.

A packed stadium in Bhutan.

From 2021, thanks to concrete advice and examples from UEFA, the Estonian Football Association (EJL) and the Football Association of Wales (FAW), the 18 Asian federations focus on key aspects such as sponsorship, improving their marketing, communication and Is. , social networks and data collection.

The program included a series of online workshops on the topics of marketing and revenue generation adapted to the constraints imposed by the pandemic. Thus, participants were able to learn from each other, exchange best practices and talk about their successes.

For example, in Bhutan, the rebranding of the football federation and its slogan “House of Happiness” had a notable impact. In addition, new digital content and innovative programs aimed at increasing fan engagement have powerfully increased attendance at league matches and generated revenue in a more efficient and sustainable manner.

Vahid Kardani, Deputy Secretary-General of the AFC:

“This collaboration has proved invaluable to the development of our member associations. The online group workshop format has been a great way for our members to share best practice and build capacity, with the help of experts from the European Unions and UEFA’s Support Programme. »

Confederation of African Football (CAF): League for Nations

Participants in Assist's league development program in Botswana.

Participants in Assist’s league development program in Botswana.

European football has some of the most competent professional leagues in the world. So UEFA’s expertise can make a real difference in strengthening the game on other continents.

Since 2019, Assist has been sharing all-European knowledge and experience with fifteen African national federations, with the aim of helping them improve their structures and organization within their leagues, professionalize their clubs and develop their business strategies Is.

Our experts also provide online advice, allowing clubs, leagues and associations to benefit from advice throughout the process.

Joseph Chimpumwe, Deputy General Secretary of the Football Federation of Zambia:

“All Zambia Premier League (ZPL) clubs have adopted a standard operating plan based on four pillars: governance, club development, league development, and marketing and revenue generation. This approach will greatly improve our performance management as we move towards FIFA Club Licensing Professionalize and market the league as per the regulations. A bright future awaits ZPL! »

Confederation of North, Central and Caribbean America (CONCACAF): a real change for Guyana

Denmark striker Martin Braithwaite (far left) traveled to Guyana with the Danish Football Association

Denmark striker Martin Braithwaite (far left) traveled to Guyana with the Danish Football Association

The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) is one of the few federations to have received support across all four pillars of the ASSIST programme. Indeed, it established a league development program with the aim of supporting the top ten men’s teams in the country, and launched a new women’s league.

The under-16 tournament also saw a major development, with 20 of Guyana’s best young players traveling to Europe for the first time to face tournament hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Lithuania and Montenegro. The grassroots teams have received two minibuses for traveling to training sessions from remote areas.

The Danish Football Association (DBU) has also supported the GFF, funding equipment for the new women’s league and sending Guyanese-born international striker Martin Braithwaite to Georgetown for an official visit.

Guyana is not the only country that has developed its football using the ASSIST program: almost all 41 member associations of CONCACAF have benefited from our initiatives or events.

Wayne Ford, GFF President:

“We feel very fortunate to be a national federation. UEFA complements the important work done by CONCACAF to build the capacity of its member associations. I am confident that the impact of the programs we undertake with UEFA Assist and the DBU will be felt in our football for many years to come. »

Confederation of South American Football (CONMEBOL): women’s football moves forward

UEFA's aid program encourages women and girls to play football in Venezuela.

UEFA’s aid program encourages women and girls to play football in Venezuela.Getty Images

All over the world, football needs more women: on the pitch, in coaching and refereeing roles, and in administrative roles.

Building on the excellent results of the UEFA women’s football strategy ‘Time for Action’, Asist successfully launched its ‘Football for Women’ program in Paraguay and Venezuela following a successful earlier launch in Asia.

In Venezuela, the initiative will include ten national grassroots festivals for girls only. In addition, it has helped establish new women’s teams and increase their visibility to existing women’s leagues by providing them with branding kits, social media campaigns and advice on digital marketing strategy.

Based on its success, the program will be extended to Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Uruguay in the next season.

Fabimar Franchi, Head of Sustainability and Women’s Football at CONMEBOL:

“This is an important step forward for the development of women’s football in our member associations. There has been real benefit to all stakeholders in joining our efforts to develop this programme.

The “Football for Women” project has had a great impact: increasing the participation of women in football, both on and off the pitch, is a priority for CONMEBOL. We look forward to rolling out this program to other member associations. ,

Oceania Football Confederation (OFC): A New House of Football

The new OFC Football House under construction in Auckland.

The new OFC Football House under construction in Auckland.

Two important projects have helped ensure a bright future for the eleven member associations in Oceania. The Assist team provided substantial financial support for the construction of OFC’s new headquarters, the House of Football (or Te Kahu o Kiwa), which was inaugurated a month earlier. The new building in Auckland has become the headquarters for OFC staff members, who are already enjoying their new home. It also features two state-of-the-art synthetic turf pitches, which should help teams from Oceania better prepare for top-level competition.

Also used the experience and know-how of UEFA Academy, the educational hub of European football, to help launch OFC Learn, a new platform providing online training to over 2,000 users, webinars focused on coach and referee development , as well as a registration platform for clubs, players and officials.

Frank Castillo, OFC Secretary General:

“Seeing these projects come to life was a particularly strong moment for OFC. Together, the House of Football and OFC Learn will provide many invaluable development opportunities for players, coaches, officials and members of administration across the region. »

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