Dear members, friends, and fans of minifootball, I have the honour and privilege of evaluating the year 2016 with you and introducing you to the news to come in the year 2017. Before considering these milestones, let me just make a comment on the photograph, accompanying this new year speech. The picture should not symbolize my close relation to Real Madrid but should represent an interconnection between minifootball and football, with minifootball as an important marketing channel for football. I regard the clear specification of minifootball and its deployment in the sports field as the most important message which minifootball should send to the world of sports if it wants to be respected in the international sports family.
As in the human life, there are certain milestones which we together must reach to be able to accomplish objectives, framed in the statutes of the World Minifootbal Federation or its global strategy. Allow me to start with more favourable, positive milestones, which in 2016 greatly affected both organization and development of minifootball in the international forum.
Firstly, allow me to start with the continental policy; the election of Mr. Achraf Ben Salha as President of the African Minifootball Confederation, who introduced other countries to the ideal structure of people, who should constitute executive committees of national minifootball associations, delighted me very much. Similarly, I was really pleased by the appointment of Mr. Alexandre Barros as a person responsible for the strategic development of minifootball in the Pan-American area. I perceive integration between the creativity of Mr. Alexandre Barros and leadership experience of Mr. Sergio del Rio from the Pan American Minifootball Federation as an important link for further development of minifootball in the American continent. I also highly appreciate the progress of minifootball in Australia and its innovation, encouraged by the local leaders Miguel Maron and Bryan Raedburn; I would like to applaud them once again.
The year 2016 was the year of entry of WMF to the important economic markets. The Chinese market, where – through to me a very likable Taiwan – we are launching a pilot project with the progressive entry to China, Hong Kong, and Macao. Arabic and African markets via the president of the African Minifootball Confederation Mr. Achraf Ben Salha and Russian market engaging one of our potential investors into the development of information systems of WMF.
The number of the international unions has successfully increased, especially in Africa and America, where their continental championships 2017 will be organized, as well as the qualification to the WMF World Cup. I myself see this as one of the important measures of WMF development.
Our partners play a very important role. In spring 2016, I introduced members of the executive committee to the offer, submitted by another investor in IT development, amounting to EUR 2 mil. The connection of this partner with the public sector of the country, where a newly established WMF marketing agency would be seated, shows a considerable potential for the financing of development and marketing of minifootball in regions as well as at the national level. We are just preparing a document entitled “WMF National Minifootball Association Standards”, which each national federation, which would like to become the full member of WMF, would have to fulfill. The aforementioned document will focus on maintaining the structure of national federation as to the requirements of our external potential partners with whom we would like to cooperate in the future as well as on the work of regional minifootball associations. Local organizers are the most crucial elements in the whole chain, though economically the weakest. Precisely, that is the reason why one of my objectives is to target at their methodology, material, and purpose financial support.
Requirements of our external potential partners made me propose the members of the World Minifootball Federation to move its seat from Birmingham in England to Lausanne in Switzerland. Lausanne, the Olympic Capital as it hosts the International Olympic Committee, offers international sports federations many financial benefits in addition to further education in the sector of sports management and marketing. For my part, Lausanne is an important strategic venue to meet important people from the international sports environment, with whom we should share not only our experience but also our visions. The members of the World Minifootball Federation voted for this change at their August meeting; at the moment, negotiations with Swiss lawyers and banks to accomplish this transfer are ongoing.
Moreover, WMF business plan is close to its final approval, containing plans for the construction of minifootball infrastructure, which is very important primarily for regional associations; in certain localities, underdeveloped infrastructure prevents the accession of other teams and full development of this sport.
Preparations for the largest, and historically the most expensive, WMF World Cup, hosted by Tunisia in August 2017, are successfully progressing. I am very proud that newly elected president of the African Minifootball Confederation, Mr. Achraf Ben Salha, has been given this opportunity. Nevertheless, last year did not bring only positive outcomes. We had to face also negative sides and effects, slowing down the successful development of minifootball in the world.
Internal communication between executive committees and delegates of general meetings at the continental level is continuously failing in the long term. Despite the fact that three years ago l asked the general meeting to approve a document entitled “Regulation for Interior Communication”, I can see that some people, because of their nearly dangerous passion for the minifootball, overlook legislative processes or legislation of the country under the jurisdiction of which their organizations come under. I myself see this as the strategic mistake and possible serious future problem if we want to follow democratic procedures inside the organization. However, this hazardous extremism is still better than the situation when one group understands minifootball as a tool for the personal enrichment, whereas the other group wants to develop the sport.
As the most unfortunate I can see the current situation in Europe; some time ago, delegates – rather unfortunately – selected a fox to take care of their “chicken coop”, and now the surprise is coming. I perceive 21 January 2017 as a very significant milestone: after five years, the European Minifootball Federation will elect a new management, as stated in the articles of the organization. The same date is also associated with the adoption of new WMF articles, which will be submitted to WMF members for their final approval at the beginning of January 2017. The subsequent opinion of the European Minifootball Federation delegates should show a path which EMF members might want to follow. Whether the path of organizing primarily minifootball tournaments, as well as many other organizations, or the path of a proper services organization of WMF for Europe and part of Asia and associated adoption of the articles, which WMF members will have to respect so as WMF would fulfil requirements of external organizations with whom it is in touch with regards to its objectives. I wish EMF delegates to appoint those candidates to their managing board, who will support transparentness of the organization, will be willing to work in a way that their work would become a mission for the others, not for their personal benefit, and will be successful in their home countries. Only in this way, they can set a good example for others.
Because of various visions, it seems that we have nearly forgotten the expression “motivation of national minifootbal associations”. Maybe the largest and the most up-to-date event, which Europe and part of Asia impatiently wait for, is the forthcoming largest EMF EURO 2017, which will be hosted by the Czech Republic from 9 until 17 June 2017.
I negatively see the fact that we cannot find a person in Asia who would be creative enough to develop minifootball, with necessary linguistics capacities (preferably English, Chinese), with such love to minifootball to build values of this sport and develop it.
Another important aspect, discussed by the World Federation in 2016, and which, unfortunately, will need to continue to be further debated, is the minifootball as a tool for illegal immigration. Quite often in developing countries, we observed an interest of certain groups of people in the minifootball development but with the different objective as the interest of WMF. World Federation will have to pay special attention to this particular issue and will have to launch a project which will help to recognize a genuine interest of people with whom we are in touch as regards minifootball development. The objective of the project will be to promote peaceful integration of cultures of various communities to eliminate their differences and to unite them to share one common interest, in this specific case the sport – minifootball. I would be glad if our projects would unite people and would build tolerance bridges. I do know that minifootball itself cannot solve all problems; however, at least the society will find out that there are ways how to understand and tolerate differences. For instance, WMF might cooperate with the organization Peace Corps.
And what is planned for 2017?
In 2017, I consider good communication with external organizations, which are the part of WMF global strategy, important. Minifootball must clearly indicate that its position towards football is supportive and must clearly present its benefits to football.
Very positively, I see the consent of WMF executive committee to the change of WMF logo and new websites. Both issues should be introduced in spring, together with a new marketing plan of the World Federation for the promotion of this sport all over the world.
In August, minifootball members and fans will have their eyes fixed on Tunisia, which will host WMF World Cup 2017 with sixteen best countries in the world. All matches will be played in the late-afternoon and evening times to compensate for the African climate. I will keep on trying to find an appropriate employee of the World Minifootball Federation for the minifootball strategic development planning in Asia, as I perceive Asian development as the sphere where creative human resources should be strengthened.
Minifootball security, transparentness, and democracy continue to be my top priority – i.e., to give every single member the possibility to comment on any aspect of the proposed documents prior to their final approval, and not to delegate this power only to the executive committees. I also encourage more frequent personal meetings between members of executive committees of continental federations, from which I expect more effective work.
I will always support national minifootball entities having the regular structure of national sports federations, not only entities organizing minifootball to generate their personal financial profit, or established as companies to organize minifootball tournaments. I have been organizing minifootball since 1998; at that time, I established the first regional league in my city. I have always recognized minifootball as a tool bringing great joy to people and as a means of social integration. Compared to other sports, minifootball offers a huge advantage – most teams are constituted by “friends”, not organized by performance levels, as is common in most of the other sports. And that is the true essence which personally satisfied me when organizing this sport.
Finally, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to all members of WMF executive committee for the excellent year that has just ended. Similarly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the chairpersons of national minifootball associations for their constant effort to continuously improve the value of minifootball in their countries, referees for their performances during championships, tournaments, and minifootball league matches, members of the individual committees, which are advisory bodies to the executive committees, for their work, members of the organising committees of the international tournaments, WMF partners as well as partners of the continental, national, and regional federations. They participate in the investment in the minifootball development and I do hope that this sport, ultimately, will pay them their “dividends”.
And my heartfelt thanks should be conveyed to all the people at the sharp end. To all those working hard behind the scenes – organizing regional competitions, opening pitches in addition to controlling sports matches as referees. To all devoted enthusiasts who keep tracks of scores during regional competitions, prepare statistics and write reports. You are often overshadowed by the international environment; however, without you, the World Federation would be only an ordinary promoter of a world competition, and maybe would not exist at all.
Thank you, everyone, for your support, it is a tremendous honour for me to be able to shape the future of this sport together with you.
May the year 2017 bring you good health. May the year ahead fulfill all your deepest wishes, let`s unite in love and peace to cherish values not only of this sport but the entire society all over the world.
With all due respect, yours faithfully,