President George Weah on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 dedicated the newly constructed SDK Practice Pitch Mini Stadium located at the back of the SKD Sports Stadium in Paynesville.
The project is one of FIFA’s two million investment projects to Member Associations under the FIFA Forward 2.0 program for four years and is being implemented by the Liberia Football Association (LFA).
The mini-stadium comprises an artificial turf, seating capacity for about 400 people; fully air-conditioned dressing rooms, bathrooms, and a mandatory medical room constructed close to the dressing rooms. The medical room is dedicated solely for the treatment of players and officials.
Speaking at the dedication ceremony, President George Weah thanked the world football governing body, FIFA for its continuous support to develop football globally and lauded the LFA under the leadership of Mustapha Raji for the leadership role they continue to play, as it is in line with his developmental agenda.
President Weah reaffirmed the government’s commitment to continue its advocacy to ensure that additional sporting facilities are developed in the country so that Liberia can host international competitions in the future.
He then urged community dwellers to take ownership of the mini stadium in order to be properly maintained.
LFA President Mustapha Raji thanked the President, the Chief Patron of Sports, for the foundation laid for Liberian football both in and out of the country; something he said has “created an opportunity for us to engage partners and smoothened, and given us positive results that we continue to bring back to our country.”
He also thanked member clubs for the support and the approval of the football association’s budget that allows the association to implement said projects.
Up next is the dedication of the Doris Williams Sports Stadium artificial turf project that was recently completed in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
About FIFA Forward 2.0
The mini-stadium will now be used to host matches of league games of various competitions under the football association. The dedication of the project comes just days after the famous Tusa Field mini-stadium was also dedicated in Gardnersville Township.
The FIFA Forward Development Programme was first adopted by the FIFA Congress on 9 May 2016 and it was to become not only a “step change” for global football development and the way we share the success of the FIFA World Cup™ with our member associations, but also one of the most prominent sports development programmes.
FIFA Forward is built to provide 360-degree, tailor-made support for football development in each of our member associations and the six confederations and is based on three principles:
- more investment
- more impact
- more oversight
The aim is to improve the way we develop and support football across the globe so that football can reach its potential in every single country, and everyone who wants to take part can do so without barriers.
Following the successful implementation of the first edition of the FIFA Forward Development Programme 2016-2018, “FIFA Forward 1.0”, the second edition, “FIFA Forward 2.0” came into force on 1 January 2019 and will run until 31 December 2022.
FIFA Forward 1.0 achieved some impressive development results with member associations having been supported financially both in their daily operations but also in setting new strategic long-term goals and by implementing tailor-made development projects to provide football infrastructure, competitions and to promote and advance women’s football. More than half of FIFA’s member associations, those with more limited financial capacity, were able to properly equip their youth and women’s national teams and to participate in numerous international competitions and tournaments with the support of Forward solidarity funding for travel and equipment needs.
On 13 June 2018, the FIFA Congress decided to increase the investment in FIFA Forward even further for the next cycle, 2019-2022, with a 20% increase in the annual entitlement for each of the 211 member associations and the six confederations.
In addition, FIFA’s member associations were able to provide their feedback at the 12 FIFA Executive Football Summits which took place between November 2017 and March 2018. The experiences and the learnings of the members and the FIFA administration in the two and a half years in which FIFA Forward has been in operation, coupled with consultation with the relevant FIFA committees, led to the adoption of an amended set of regulations, which were approved and adopted by the FIFA Council at its meeting in Kigali on 26 October 2018 – the FIFA Forward Development Programme Regulations 2.0.
The core principles, approach and procedures of FIFA Forward 1.0 largely remain intact, whilst certain elements have been adapted to reflect the increase in the member associations’ entitlements and the needs for greater football development and reporting on the programme achievements and its legacy and impact.
The most prominent Forward 2.0 amendments for the 2019-2022 cycle are as follows:
A. Financial entitlements
1) An investment of USD 6,000,000 per member association for the four-year cycle to support operational needs and development projects whilst an additional USD 1,000,000 is allocated to those member associations with an annual revenue of USD 4 million or less in order to support their travel and equipment needs.
a) Up to USD 1,000,000 per year for operational/running costs:
i) USD 500,000 released in January each year for day-to-day activities, administration and running costs.
ii) Up to USD 500,000 paid in July each year, provided that the member association fulfils up to ten specific activities during the year (USD 50,000 per activity). These activities include:
(1) organising men’s, women’s and youth competitions (two age groups for both girls and boys) – each competition should involve at least ten clubs for at least 90 matches and for at least six months each year;
(2) having active men’s, women’s and youth national teams – each one participating in at least four matches per year;
(3) having a functioning and regularly updated IT player registration and competition management system (provided free of charge by FIFA if needed); and
(4) having men’s and women’s refereeing programmes.
b) USD 2,000,000 over the period of the whole 2019-2022 cycle for projects tailored according to the member association’s approved contract of agreed objectives, and in particular relating to football infrastructure (e.g. pitches, technical centres, training grounds, stadiums and headquarters)
i) Projects may include other development areas provided that the member association has at least one stadium/pitch allowing international matches to be played, suitable association headquarters, and a functioning technical centre.
c) Up to USD 200,000 per year for travel and accommodation, and up to USD 200,000 per four-year cycle for football equipment for those member associations needing the most assistance:
i) A member association is identified as needing the most assistance provided that its annual revenue does not exceed USD 4 million (reflected in the annual statutory audit report of the previous year and submitted to FIFA by 30 June each year).
2) Up to USD 1,000,000 for zonal/regional associations will be released to the respective confederations in January of each year provided that the zonal/regional association is recognised by the confederation and organises at least one women’s, two boys’ and two girls’ competitions (for national teams or clubs).
3) USD 12 million for each confederation per year, with the funds automatically released in two biannual payments in January and July each year.
B. Reporting and auditing
FIFA Forward 1.0 introduced enhanced oversight controls to ensure that the investment in football development is transparent, carefully managed and effective.
- One contract of agreed objectives per association, setting the strategy for development over two to four years, approved by the Development Committee
- All tailor-made projects must be linked to the approved contract of agreed objectives
- Any project above USD 300,000 to be approved by the Development Committee
- FIFA administration to monitor the implementation of projects and their legacy and impact
- Independent financial audits of Forward funds for each association
- Enhanced development regulations, including greater powers of oversight and tougher compliance measures
- Publication of independent audits of member associations’ annual finances
Under FIFA Forward 2.0. member associations shall:
a. Ensure that the principles of anti-discrimination, diversity, accessibility and inclusion, and human rights for all are protected and promoted
b. Take measures to protect and safeguard children and minors from potential abuses and to promote their wellbeing within football
c. Avoid any situation giving rise to a conflict of interests
d. Avoid the usage of cash
e. Maintain all supporting documentation for all expenditures and payments made with FIFA Forward funds
f. Use the FIFA funds exclusively for the purposes allocated
g. Use contributions and funds allocated under Forward 1.0 by 31 December 2020. Any funds not used according to purpose shall be deducted from the entitlement of the 2019-2022 cycle.