FIFA and Caricom have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) intending to promote sports integrity and social responsibility while furthering the development of football in the region.
The landmark agreement was signed by Caricom secretary general ambassador Irwin LaRocque and FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Monday.
It was done at 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 Concacaf president Victor Montagliani.
A statement issued by the sport’s global governing body said, “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.”
It added that 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.
FIFA said it is “delighted” to enter into this agreement with Caricom as they work towards leveraging the sport as a catalyst for social development in the region.
“Football 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,” said FIFA president Infantino.
LaRocque welcomed the MoU and partnership with FIFA. He said that many of the region’s member states have established developmental programmes 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 organisations 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 football,” LaRocque said.
Montagliani, who also serves as FIFA vice president, was also pleased with the new partnership and believes it’s a step in the right direction for Concacaf development.
“It will benefit the whole Caribbean region and support us in our extensive efforts to develop the game at all levels. Football is a unifying force that promotes social development, transcending all types of barriers, to the benefit of our societies.”
During the ceremony, former T&T 2006 World Cup midfielder and current Barbados head coach Russell Latapy said that he appreciates the efforts of FIFA and the regional body to invest in football development.