FIFA increases funding for New Zealand Football

New Zealand Football is set to receive around $13 million in funding from FIFA over the next four-year cycle as part of the FIFA Forward 3.0 development programme.

The new windfall is the result of a budgeted record revenue $17 billion FIFA is expecting to generate over the 2023-26 cycle.

The $13m each of the 211 member associations will receive is a 30 percent increase from the previous 2019-2022 cycle and a sevenfold increase of the amount distributed prior to 2016.

"For larger member associations, the FIFA Forward Development contributions may be a nice addition, but for member associations in Oceania, these contributions can be a game-changer," FIFA Development Manager for Oceania David Firisua said.

The former Solomon Islands international explained that under the first two iterations of the FIFA Forward Development programme, over $323m, earmarked for football development, was made available to member associations in Oceania, as well as the Oceania Football Confederation

Firisua said that $54.3m has been invested in specific projects and between the 11 OFC associations, around $32m of FIFA Forward funds have been invested into 48 infrastructure projects across the Oceania region since 2016.

When announcing the latest Annual Report, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that FIFA World Cup in Qatar had been the most successful ever and has enabled FIFA to invest a record-breaking figure in football.

"It is FIFA's duty to ensure not only that global tournaments engage with girls and boys, women and men from all corners of the world, but also that football continues to provide opportunities to everyone, wherever they are born," said the FIFA President, who had earlier noted that the improved governance, transparency and financial accountability had stopped FIFA funds from "evaporating", so more can be invested in grassroots football.

Firisua said FIFA Forward funding came with strict financial controls attached.

"Funds are disbursed to member associations for operational costs and specific projects within the scope of their contract of agreed objectives.

"All such funds fall within the framework of FIFA's central audit review process which provides for improved monitoring of projects and greater transparency and oversight of funds," Firisua said.

Funds are disbursed to member associations under three main mechanisms: solidarity payments for equipment and travel, operational costs and specific projects, the latter two making up the majority of available funds.

Over the first two cycles (2016-2022), New Zealand Football successfully applied for a total of $6.83m from its specific project entitlement.

Between 2016-2018, NZF received funds for two artificial pitches in an all-purpose, flood-lit facility for trainings and matches in Dunedin as well as 38 other projects, including $890,000 on national team programmes, $45,000 on improving the National Women's League and $54,000 on capacity building.

Between 2019 - 2022, FIFA Forward money was used to safeguard football against the impending disruptions of the pandemic. NZF successfully applied for the conversion of specific funds to operational costs giving it greater control, oversight and flexibility to navigate the increased uncertainties domestically and internationally.

This ensured the continued investments in the critical areas of the game including national team support, strengthening of women's football and domestic competitions, development of its registration systems and player safety and safeguarding initiatives amongst a raft of other initiatives.

Firisua said NZF was a great example where the FIFA Forward funding has not just been used to create bricks and mortar projects, but also to strengthen competitions, support national teams to participate in regional and global competitions and to build more capability and expertise within the associations.

"The football landscape across Oceania will continue to improve with FIFA Forward to ensure that football can be developed in the best possible environment."