On 12 and 13 July 2017, FIFA staged a two-day Professional Football Conference in Asuncion, Paraguay, in collaboration with CONMEBOL, welcoming senior representatives of South America’s ten national associations. Representatives from clubs, leagues and player bodies around the world also came together, creating a unique platform for an exchange of best practice in international club football.

The conference, moderated by former Mexican national women’s team captain, Monica Gonzalez, included a variety of important professional football topics such as global club football benchmarking and best practices on club and player contractual dispute resolution. FIFA’s recently published 2017 Global Club Football Report was also presented. A variety of presentation formats where used, including panels, interviews, group discussions and a keynote speech from former Colombian international and current FIFA Legend, Juan Pablo Angel.

In seeking to maximise the benefits for each conference participant and increase stakeholder engagement, FIFA invited special guests and speakers including, Jose Maria Duran from Getafe CF in Spain, Steven Bryce from ASOJUPRO (FIFPro) in Costa Rica and Pedro Correia from Liga Portugal. Each speaker provided unique insights into their organisations and experiences.

Club football key to football's development
As FIFA Vice President and Football Stakeholders Committee Chair, Victor Montagliani, said: “FIFA’s 2.0 vision highlights the importance of effective collaboration with stakeholders by creating channels to allow meaningful and constructive dialogue to address key issues facing club football, and this conference is an example of putting this vision into practice.”

“The growth of club football is a key driver to develop the game at all levels. Club football professionalisation, including projects such as club licensing and national dispute resolution chambers, were key topics discussed at our recent Football Stakeholders Committee and play a crucial role in ensuring long-term stability and increasing competitiveness on and off the field of club football.”

The conference follows the 2016 FIFA-CONMEBOL Club Licensing Seminar that launched CONMEBOL’s club licensing system. As CONMEBOL General Secretary Jose Manuel Astigarraga said: “This conference continues the efforts by CONMEBOL and our national associations with the support of FIFA, to fully implement club licensing in time for the 2018 editions of CONMEBOL's Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana tournaments.

"CONMEBOL is undergoing an evolution which will also benefit professional football and club football in the region. It will create financial transparency and integrity, improve professional clubs’ management through the newly established Club Licensing system and support member associations as well as other stakeholders involved in football in South America."