FIFA Foundation

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Around FIFA

FIFA Foundation­

7 min. reading time

As the world continued to face challenges caused by natural disasters and poverty, often exacerbated by the continued presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 was a busy year for the FIFA Foundation.

Established in March 2018, the FIFA Foundation was created as an independent entity to help promote positive social change around the globe and raise support for the recovery and reconstruction of damaged or destroyed sports infrastructure worldwide.

Campus Programme­

Launched in 2020, the Campus Programme is a global initiative that gives girls and boys from underprivileged backgrounds the opportunity to play football and develop their personal and social learning skills in a safe environment during school breaks.

In May 2021, the Campus Programme launched its pilot initiative in Yerevan, Armenia. Over 100 children and teenagers from underprivileged backgrounds attended the seven-day event, which brought together girls and boys, some with mental disabilities, from orphanages, displaced families and national minorities to the dedicated FIFA Foundation Campus grounds for a week, based at the Football Federation of Armenia (FFA) Technical Centre.

FIFA technical experts, FFA grassroots coaches and young leaders from local communities coached the youngsters on the pitch in high-quality football sessions. Off the pitch, they took part in special games and activities led by experts from UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR and Armenian NGO My Forest Armenia that focused on mental health and resilience, gender equality and healthy nutrition, football as a tool for integration and climate change.

Four months later, the Campus Programme visited its second country, the Dominican Republic, where a further 120 children were given the opportunity to participate in an unforgettable experience. In partnership with the Dominican Republic Football Association, the FIFA Foundation helped organise a week containing plenty of football, health checks, social sessions and fun entertainment activities for the residents of La Canela, an underprivileged community in Santiago de los Caballeros.

We saw during the COVID-19 pandemic that the world was put on pause. We had to change how we think about society and how we can make things change and evolve. But football stayed strong and proved that it was a big family.
Youri Djorkaeff
FIFA Foundation CEO

Hosted by Cibao FC, the campus welcomed girls and boys aged 11-13 and ten young leaders aged 16-26 to engage in activities on and off the pitch that combined the benefits of physical activity through high-level football training sessions with promoting awareness across a diverse range of social topics. With participants all belonging to the same community and joining together, the campus helped to further strengthen the networks of trusting relationships and create role models.

Gigaton challenge­

In October 2021, FIFA Foundation CEO Youri Djorkaeff was in Brazil to lend his and the Foundation’s support to the Gigaton Challenge.

The challenge is a series of initiatives launched by UPL Ltd to promote sustainable methods to reduce carbon dioxide levels equivalent to one gigaton over the next two decades. Djorkaeff was joined at the event in São Paulo by 1994 FIFA World Cup winner and former Brazil national team coach Dunga and Rosana, who took part in four FIFA Women’s World Cups as a player.

The collaboration between the FIFA Foundation and UPL Ltd forms part of a memorandum of understanding that was announced in August 2020. The partnership was created with the specific goal of joining forces to promote sustainable development in agriculture and education in society through the power of football. Addressing delegates at the launch, Djorkaeff spoke of his – and FIFA’s – passion for such initiatives, highlighting how sports bodies, governments and NGOs working together can act as a powerful catalyst for changeon a large scale.

He said: “As a former professional player, I understand the power of football and its incredible ability to influence society in a positive and meaningful way. The raison d’être of the FIFA  Foundation is to help promote positive change in communities worldwide, especially in the most disadvantaged countries.”

The challenge will initially launch pilot programmes in Brazil, Argentina, India, the USA and a number of European countries. During this phase, the project aims to aggregate one million hectares before scaling up globally in 2025 with the target of impacting more than 100 million hectares around the world, the equivalent of 100 million football pitches.

FIFA Foundation reinvests­

In August 2021, the United States Department of Justice awarded more than USD 201 million to the FIFA Foundation as compensation for the losses suffered by FIFA, Concacafand CONMEBOL as victims of decades of football corruption schemes.

This money was seized from the bank accounts of former officials who were involved in, and then prosecuted for, their role in the schemes. It was immediately announced that the funds would go into a newly formed World Football Remission Fund established under the auspices of the FIFA Foundation to help finance football-related projects with a positive community impact across the globe.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “I am delighted to see that money which was illegally siphoned out of football is now coming back to be used for its proper purposes, as it should have been in the first place.”

The fund, which is intended to have a particular focus on youth and community programmes, will have amounts earmarked for projects within Concacaf and CONMEBOL, which suffered significantly as a result of the criminal activities. In addition, all projects will be subject to strict monitoring, auditing and compliance checks in order to guarantee full transparency and accountability.

Football for Schools­

In October 2021, the FIFA Foundation launched its Football for Schools Programme in Odisha, India. The programme is designed to use the beautiful game in schools as a tool to deliver fun and interactive education about important life skills and positive values to boys and girls across three age groups (4-7, 8-11 and 12-14). More than 100 children and 60 coaches took part in its inaugural event in Odisha – known locally as the sports capital of India.

It is a great initiative to launch Football for schools by FIFA in Odisha, which is the sports capital of India. I am extremely happy and grateful to FIFA that India has been chosen as one of the first countries to launch this pioneering programme.
Kushal Das
General Secretary of the All India Football Federation

The FIFA Foundation selected Odisha as the perfect location in which to launch the new programme, which aims to make football more accessible to both girls and boys throughout the world. Empowering children with valuable life skills and competencies, the programme provides coach-educators with the training they need to deliver education through sport.

Football for Schools hopes to distribute 11 million footballs to schools in the countries of all 211 FIFA members associations. This means that 700 million children are expected to benefit from the initiative, which aims to make football more accessible to both boys and girls around the world.

Recovery project in Peru­

In December 2021, a FIFA Foundation delegation led by CEO Youri Djorkaeff visited Peru to see first-hand the results of the USD 500,000 contributed by the Foundation to aid recovery efforts and reinstate sporting infrastructure following the devastating floods and landslides in 2016 and 2017.

The visit to the three new facilities – in Chancay, Trujillo and Chiclayo – followed an initial inspection visit by representatives of the FIFA Member Assocations Division in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. Following their assessment, arrangements were made under the Recovery Programme to organise and fund the restoration of the damaged sporting facilities.

With the active operational support of the division, the USD 500,000 allocated was mobilised to build three new artificial turf football pitches, the last of which was completed on 17 September 2021. The three facilities were built on the sites of the original stadiums and technical centres, and were installed in line with FIFA Quality Programme for Football Turf requirements.

Speaking at the opening event, which was also attended by Peruvian Football Association President Agustín Lozano,Technical Director Jean-Marcel Robilliard and regional league president Alfredo Brito, Djorkaeff said: “Young people now have their chance to shine across all of these regions and that can make you all very proud. We know very well the positive impact that our sport has on society, on physical and mental health, on education and on communities. And that’s why we are delighted to be here today speaking not mainly about damage, but recovery.”