DILI (9 Sept 2019) – Member Association (MA) development has been one of the core focus areas of the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Vision and Mission and the last 12 months have witnessed the introduction of a plethora of new and improved MA Development Programmes.

The AFC Financial Assistance Programme (AFAP) has risen to USD500,000 in 2019 – an increase of 100% from 2018 – and will be distributed in two instalments to eligible MAs, who can then utilise these funds to achieve their goals and objectives.

A minimum of 10% from the AFAP must be distributed to drive Women’s Football/Women’s Futsal, Coach Education and Youth and Grassroots programmes, which further underlines the AFC’s Vision and Mission of promoting the sport at all levels.

Beginning 2020, all eligible MAs must employ full-time specialists in key areas such as Coach Education, Elite Youth Programmes, Women’s Football, Grassroots, Marketing, Refereeing, Legal Affairs, Media and Communications, Finance, International Relations, and Club Licensing in order to access their annual AFAP.

Recognising the need to build more football infrastructure, the highly-acclaimed Mini-Pitch scheme under the AFC President’s Infrastructure Initiative has been discontinued and MAs can now utilise the increase in contribution of USD 800,000 over the period of 2019-2020 for any infrastructure investment including mini-pitches.

MAs also have the option of running the project tender themselves as per the AFC Tender Guidelines and the MA investment amount has been reduced to 10% of the total project cost.

General Secretary of the Bhutan Football Federation Ugyen Wangchhuk said: “The AFC has been very proactive in helping MAs achieve their goals. These innovations in MA Development Programmes will go a long way to grow the game in our country and reach our objectives.

“Football in Asia is growing rapidly, and we must continue to develop the sport at all levels – from technical expertise to grassroots football – and these Development Programmes fit our long-term strategic plan.”

With increased funding from FIFA and AFC, the MA Development Department has also introduced Core Development Goal 4 (CDG4) under the President’s Development Initiative to ensure accountability and transparency.

Under CDG4, all MAs are required to implement a comprehensive financial management system by December 31, 2020, which includes policies, processes, structures and systems, best practice financial reporting and the necessary governance and compliance guidelines and structures.

Advance 11 has also been introduced to help MAs measure and benchmark their capabilities against a set of guidelines incorporating 11 key functions, which cover legal and governance, finance and risk, administration, logistics and IT, human resources, facilities management and maintenance.

The guidelines also focus on marketing and branding, commercial and business development, stakeholder relations, leadership and management of national teams and competitions. and club management.

The system and methodology of Advance 11 are designed to improve the MAs’ objectives and efficiencies while ultimately helping them to self-evaluate and identify areas, which require attention and focus.

Two new programmes have also been launched – the AFC Footballs for Development Scheme and the AFC President’s Technical Staff Initiative – both important aspects to strengthen MA capabilities.

The AFC Footballs for Development Scheme will distribute 500 Molten training footballs annually to each MA, while the AFC President’s Technical Staff Initiative will provide a financial contribution of USD 200,000 each year towards the hiring of qualified technical expertise in the areas of technical development for AFAP beneficiary MAs.

The new development programmes underline the progress the AFC continues to make in becoming an even more forward-thinking and dynamic organisation, one that is focused entirely on helping its Member Associations and the wider game in Asia to scale new heights in the coming decades. – www.the-afc.com