club liFIFA, in collaboration with CONCACAF, held final discussions during a landmark seminar on club licensing in Miami. The main objective of the two-day event was to inform member associations about the implementation of the FIFA Club Licensing System in CONCACAF that will introduce a set of minimum criteria into national and continental competitions from 2015 and 2016, respectively.

FIFA Vice-President and CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb opened the seminar by stressing the importance of club licensing for the future of football in the region: “This seminar is a continuation of everything we do for the professionalisation and the transparency of football. The member associations must be the agents of change, the catalysts for the transformation of CONCACAF.”

FIFA’s Club Licensing System is based on five key criteria: sporting, personnel and administrative, financial, infrastructure and legal. These criteria aim to safeguard the credibility and integrity of club competitions while improving the level of professionalism within the football family and promoting transparency in the finances, ownership and control of clubs.

The adaptation of club licensing at confederation and subsequently at member association level is a long-term process in which the objective is to provide essential requirements and minimum standards to further enhance club football competitions. At the end of this process, the benefits for clubs, leagues and member associations are numerous: higher level of club management, better level of home-grown players, higher level of play, increase of fans and revenues, and ultimately, better level of the national team.

“The FIFA Club Licensing System will raise the level of club football, both on and off the pitch, and represents a long-term development tool for FIFA member associations. Therefore, FIFA fully supports each confederation and member association implementing the FIFA Club Licensing System,” said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.

The member associations of Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands and USA were represented at the seminar.

The participants attended presentations by FIFA and CONCACAF which laid out the basis for the implementation of club licensing by the members, as well as panel discussions involving famous figures of the region’s football such as Shaka Hislop (TV analyst and former Trinidad & Tobago player), Yon De Luisa (CEO of Club América) and Cheryl Bailey (US NWSL) and representatives of member associations.

While the AFC and UEFA have already established a club licensing system on their respective continents, FIFA is planning to organise further seminars in the CAF, CONMEBOL and OFC regions to ensure that the FIFA Club Licensing System operates in all corners of world football.