Representatives of clubs and associations from across East, West and North Africa are meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this week for a club licensing seminar organized by FIFA in collaboration with the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Held at the African Union headquarters on 19 and 20 May, this is the latest in a series of such seminars as FIFA works to implement a global licensing system, in conjunction with the confederations, to professionalize clubs in all key areas, including from technical, commercial and governance perspectives.
The seminar has brought together senior representatives from Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tanzania to share their experiences and exchange best practices for professionalizing club football in the CAF region.
“This is an important initiative that is providing all participating member associations, as well as the clubs, leagues and players in attendance, with the basic tools required to implement club licensing,” said Salihu Abubakar, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Professional Football League.
“The Nigerian Professional Football League has been fortunate by being one of the first countries in the CAF region to implement the system, and we are already witnessing the development of the clubs both on and off the field. We want our leagues and clubs in Africa to be more professional and the club licensing system is the key development tool we need.”
FIFA is consulting a wide range of football stakeholders as it seeks to build upon the quality and experience of African club football. Accordingly, those attending the seminar also include representatives of CAF, as well as members of African national leagues, clubs and club football experts from Asia, Europe and the Americas.
“The club licensing system has already been adopted by CAF, with 61 African clubs from 26 member associations currently licensed in Africa,” said James Johnson, Head of the Professional Football Department at FIFA.
“Through these seminars, we are seeking to extend our club licensing initiatives by sharing best practices with the goal of improving the standards of professional football and developing the game on the African continent. These efforts are at the heart of FIFA’s mission.”
The club licensing seminar in Ethiopia is FIFA’s second seminar in Africa for 2016. The inaugural seminar was hosted in South Africa and will be followed by meetings in Morocco and Cameroon. In addition, club licensing seminars are being held in other parts of the world throughout the year.