Caribbean nations grouped under Caricom and international football's governing body FIFA Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster collaborative work towards the development of the sport in the region, it was announced.
Caricom is made up of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago,
FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque signed the document during a virtual ceremony attended by the presidents of the national football associations of Caricom countries, Ministers of government and representatives of the countries, as well as the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) President, Victor Montagliani.
“We are delighted to enter into this agreement with the Caribbean Community, the aim of which is to leverage our sport as a catalyst for social development in the region,” Infantino said.
Football, according to the FIFA president, “has an incredible following in the Caribbean and there is still great potential for additional growth. I am very happy to see that the countries understand the opportunities this brings in terms of social benefits for their communities and we are looking forward to working hand in hand with them around this common goal.”
“I very much welcome this MoU and the partnership with FIFA,” said LaRocque. He added that “many of our Member States have established developmental programs using sports as a transformative agent. The social, health and economic benefits of sport are well appreciated and supported in our Region. The partnership with organizations such as FIFA assists in furthering our goals of encouraging our youth, in particular, to pursue healthy lifestyles while enjoying the benefits of a sport like a football.”
Concacaf president and FIFA Vice President, Victor Montagliani, noted that the integrity of sport, and football, in particular, is a top priority for FIFA and Concacaf while stressing that the partnership “will benefit the whole Caribbean region and support us in our extensive efforts to develop the game at all levels.”
The MoU focuses on several key areas of collaboration, in particular the implementation of a football programme in the physical education curricula in primary schools in the CARICOM region.
FIFA, together with its member associations, will provide support for the development of football training, competitions and the training of football coaches, officials and administrators, along with physical education teachers.
Other key focus areas of the agreement include measures for the protection of children and vulnerable adults involved in football activities, the fight against match manipulation and the promotion of sports integrity and social responsibility.