Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has hailed the signing of an MOU between CARICOM and FIFA as opening avenues to positively impact the lives of youth within the Region.
Ambassador LaRocque and FIFA’s President Mr Gianni Infantino signed the memorandum in a virtual ceremony, Monday. It creates a framework for further collaboration between football’s world government body and CARICOM on the development of football in the Community’s Member States.
The Secretary-General said the genesis of the project came with the visit by Mr Infantino to the CARICOM Secretariat in 2017. He noted that the MOU aligns with CARICOM’s endorsement of sport as a development tool to promote positive ideals in individuals, including the inculcation of healthy lifestyles, positive use of leisure time, development of tolerance and the promotion of peace.
“The universal popularity of football gives it a unique position to play its part in assisting in that regard,” he noted.
Mr Infantino noted that FIFA had provided substantial assistance to the Football Associations of Member States of CARICOM to assist with the challenges posed by Covid-19 among other areas. He said he looked forward to working with CARICOM in ensuring that the game in the region was free of discrimination and safe for the children and youth to enjoy.
The President of CONCACAF Mr Victor Montagliani praised the thrust of the MOU and thanked FIFA for its support.
Regional football legend Russel Latapy endorsed the programmes outlined in the MOU and emphasised that the sport must provide a safe environment for the children and youth who played the game.
The ceremony was witnessed by the Minister of Sport of Guyana, Ambassadors to CARICOM and the Presidents of the National Football Associations of CARICOM Member States.
The MOU will provide institutional support for the strengthening of a football programme for the physical education curricula in primary schools withing the CARICOM Region. It will develop and train physical education teachers in football coaching and management, through FIFA Member Associations in CARICOM.
It is also expected to build on previous work by CARICOM, including “Reducing Youth on Youth Violence in Schools and Communities” and the “Youth Empowerment through Sports” projects.