… GFF partners with THAG, Department of TourismTHE Guyana Football Federation (GFF) yesterday announced that for the first time Guyana will host the FIFA Conference on Development, May 14-15. It will take place in collaboration with the Government of Guyana, through the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG). President of the GFF, Wayne Forde, at a press conference held at the Marriott Hotel, said the conference will see all 25 members and six non-members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and possibly several Africans, all assembling in Guyana as part of the FIFA Forward Development Programme.Also present yesterday were Mitra Ramkumar, president of THAG and Department of Tourism Director-General Donald Sinclair, who both spoke profoundly on the importance of the conference as it relates to their sector. “Football is a unifier and it has a huge following, if not, the most following in terms of fans; you actually get tremendous amount of coverage. Sports tourism in Guyana can really take off, and we’re happy to partner with the GFF … it can really boost our tourism product with this conference and we’re happy to be on board,” Ramkumar said.Sinclair noted, “This is a sign that finally sports and tourism are coming together; in fact there’s a strong connection between sports and tourism … because of the substance of the conference and the theme of the conference. It is very important, not just from a sports standpoint, but also by bringing officials, players, spectators and media to Guyana.”Meanwhile, Forde, in explaining the importance of the conference, said the full body of the FIFA Development Committee will be in Guyana, where one of the key areas of focus will be the implementation of a comprehensive regional schools football programme.Forde reminded the gathering of media personnel at the Marriott Hotel that during the visit of FIFA president Gianni Infantino to Guyana in 2017, there was an extensive discussion on a Regional Schools football programme with CARICOM Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque, and the extent it could contribute on the overall development on the game in the Caribbean. The Development Committee, according to FIFA, shall deal with the Federation’s development programmes and shall devise and propose appropriate strategies, check these strategies periodically and analyse the support provided to member associations, confederations and zonal/regional associations in this regard.The FIFA Forward Development Programme was first adopted by the FIFA Congress on May 9, 2016 and it was to become not only a “step change” for global football development and the way we share the success of the FIFA World Cup with our member associations, but also one of the most prominent sports’ development programmes.FIFA Forward is built to provide 360-degree, tailor-made support for football development in each of our member associations and the six confederations and is based on three principles – more investment, more impact, and more oversight.