Club Licensing in Africa attracted global attention during the CAF Club Licensing Seminar held from 3-4 May 2017 in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
The two-day event, the second after the maiden edition in April 2015, was amongst others to discuss first phase of the Club Licensing Seminars at the National Level and also set the pace for the launch of the Club Licensing inspection visits later in the year.
With over 60 participants drawn from the three arms of the Club Licensing System namely Administrative, Legal and Financial; Infrastructure and Sporting, it also provided the opportunity equip new members on the Instructors Panel for the 2017-2019 cycle.
“The seminar really broadened my perspective regarding the operational hazards of running football. In Africa, our biggest problem has always been the structures and the Club Licensing System is not limited to license clubs, rather everything on and off the pitch including technical and integrity of the game. All the stakeholders need to come together to push African football to a higher level,” said Isha Johansen, CAF Executive Committee member and also president of the Sierra Leone Football Association.
There was also representation from world soccer governing body, FIFA, and other Confederations – UEFA, AFC and CONCACAF, and partners such as FIFPro, to exchange ideas and share experiences with their African counterparts.
“CAF’s Club Licensing Instructors Seminar follows last year’s Regional Club Licensing Seminars, which FIFA conducted in close collaboration with CAF, and kicks off the second phase of the implementation of Club Licensing in Africa. The initiative taken is aligned with FIFA’s vision to use Club Licensing as tool to grow the game through the professionalization of club football,” said James Johnson, Head of FIFA Professional Football Department.
On his part, UEFA’s Alex Zavrl said “it was good for inviting UEFA to be a part of the discussions for the two days. UEFA has a long tradition with respect to Club Licensing and we can share our experiences and best practices with other sister Confederations. It was very important to see how Club Licensing is established in some confederations. It is a good project and the right track to develop football”.
For Mahajan Nair, AFC’s Head of Club Licensing, the deliberations signaled the real take-off of Club Licensing on the continent.
“I can see Club Licensing taking off in Africa especially as this is a program where we trained the trainers, pass the knowledge and experiences that AFC has acquired in Club Licensing over the past few years. The quality of Instructors was good and hopefully, we will see better results going forward”.
One of the key actors of the Club Licensing is the players, and former Ghana defender, Anthony Baffoe, is convinced the seminar is a step in the right direction.
“What is important is that we have written history. For the first time, the FIFPro Africa Division was invited and did a presentation to the Instructors. It is a progress in the right direction. We cannot bring what pertains in a different continent to Africa since there are two different continents. However, we have to take it step by step,” said Baffoe, also General Secretary of the Professional Football Association of Ghana.
Also present were representatives of the Zonal Unions, considered key partners in the implementation of the Club Licensing System.
“We have a diversity of Football Associations from Sothern Africa, certainly number of them will benefit from this seminar. Also in terms administration courses done by UEFA, we hope to engage in exchange programs to gain experiences and share ideas,” said Susan Destombes, General Secretary of the Council for Southern African Football Associations.
The Club Licensing System took off in Africa in 2014 and since then more than 40 National Associations have organized national seminars geared towards its implementation.