Thirteen of the top ranking African club presidents and representatives met today with the leadership of CAF and FIFA to discuss the challenges and opportunities regarding the development and the future of African inter-club competitions.
Discussions focused on the following areas:
Revenue generation which could be reinvested in football and football infrastructures which are crucial to the development of the game at club level.
Player transfers, solidarity payments and training compensation, safety and security of players and fans, as well as the importance of digital communications to respond to the needs of the young fans were also raised. The financial challenges and the logistical constraints faced by the large majority of the African clubs were highlighted as well.
Talks additionally covered the international match calendar and the necessity to reflect a fair balance between clubs and national teams needs given their interconnection.
A consensus was reached between all participants that African club football needs to be radically transformed into a more appealing product. Concretely this means restructuring club competitions with the view to significantly increasing the number of African clubs playing at top level.
This deep reform of African club football will help to bring it to a more global audience.
Speaking at today’s meeting CAF President Ahmad said: “We all love football and we love our continent. Together we have the possibility to create a bright future for African football and in order to do this we are here to first listen to you and then to work together to elevate African football to the next level.”
His words were echoed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino who said:”In the last two weeks 28 countries, more than half of Africa, have competed in qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022. We were excited to broadcast these games live for the first time ever to the world via FIFA.com. A global audience of more than 10 million football fans tuned in to see the unique spirit and feeling of African football in action and we want to do even more to take African football global! The potential of African football is immeasurable and if we work hand in hand, everyone around this table playing their part, we can do great things for the development of the game we all love so dearly.”
Overall the day long meeting shed light on the challenges African faces and also its huge potential to reach millions fans around the continent. A second meeting aimed at presenting a plan with concrete steps to be taken to address the critical issues highlighted by the top level participants is scheduled to take place shortly .