Reflection onto the 2021 – Annual report by the President of WMF Filip Juda

Reflection onto the 2021 – Annual report by the President of WMF Filip Juda



Dear Members of the Minifootball Family,

An annual evaluation is one of those tasks that belong to the less interesting jobs of the President of the World Federation.

I have always respected and appreciated people who create values for society. Be it a car mechanic, an actor, or an economist. One profession I have always been skeptical about has been civil servants. The reason was their routine work without creating values and I feel the same way when I write a New Year's message. By writing it, I am not creating any values that would take minifootball further, but I am merely documenting what has happened.

On the other hand, evaluating the past year and inserting this report into the next chapter of the association is, at least from the point of view of historians, no less important and this, together with the message for the New Year, gives me at least some motivation to write a balance sheet of the past year.

It was not a good year in terms of sporting events. It started with the death of one of the co-founders of the World and European Federation of Minifootball, Mr. Jozef Vaclav, who unfortunately did not cope with the battle with Covid and left us utterly. He deserves great thanks for his work and dedication to the development of minifootball in Slovakia, Europe, and the world. It is difficult to put all his contributions to the collective in words or transfer on the paper. He will remain in the hearts of those who really experienced the importance of his presence.

Covid, however, has made other sacrifices in the last year, though in this case not human ones. It was the Covid-ridden world that was a significant limiting factor for the organisation of sporting competitions, both internationally and nationally. The mitigating circumstance was at least that, compared to 2020, we were prepared for this and did not receive such a drastic intervention in the sports calendar or in the economic assumptions. Nevertheless, Covid significantly shuffled the cards in the preparations and the participation list of the WMF WORLD CUP WOMEN 2021 and WMF WORLD CUP U23 2021 hosted by Kiev, Ukraine. The positive news, however, is that despite these difficult times, it was possible to organise the first ever WMF Women's World Cup, which should continue to be in the portfolio of organised categories of the WMF. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the winners once again, but also all the teams who, despite the complexities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, managed to compete in these important championships. Thanks also go to the organizers of the championships for having solved the exceptions for selected countries that were in the so-called "red zone" for entering the territory of Ukraine.

Unfortunately, some national federations have solved the governments' suspension of organized sports by promoting electronic sports games. And I say unfortunately, because I would highly recommend that all presidents of National Associations of Minifootball look at the statutes of the association they chair or at their strategic plans and realise what is written in them. Most of them state that the national associations of minifootball have the aim of developing the number of active minifootball players, organising and promoting competitions with regard to the rules of minifootball, i.e., active sport on outdoor pitches. I would like the presidents of the national associations to realise that, in the case of youth competitions, the coaches of minifootball substitute the education of children and are thus co-responsible for their development. And the measurable factor for the performance and success of their work is not surely the number of players sitting in front of their computer monitors, but active sportsmen. This measure of success is also the same when looking at public institutions or industries that support in partnership minifootball, such as vendors of sports equipment or surfaces for minifootball matches. Supporting electronic computer games, even if only during a pandemic period, means introducing a new segment in each association and showing new possibilities for leisure time activities. After all, many partners support minifootball primarily to raise their brand profile, to promote sales or for CSR reasons.

It is my wish that the Presidents of the national and continental federations will not be influenced by the propaganda of sports electronic games and will continue to promote minifootball as a sport leading to positive and new relationships in society and as a tool for further education of the new generations. They should take their positions as a social mission first and foremost, which gives them objectivity in decision-making and in looking at the further development of the sport, and minifootball as a tool to achieve better social values and not as a tool for their own personal benefit.

Thus, I would significantly point out again that in case of increasing electronic sports promotion, there may be a significant loss of interest in active sports. This consequence of the action needs to be significantly considered as it goes against the values and objectives of the statutes of minifootball. These are based on the principle of organised amateur sporting activities, usually for soccer fans. As a pure sport that is not accompanied by corruption scandals or behind-the-scenes battles for sporting success, where in many cases the idea of deciding the outcome on the pitch is suppressed.

I also see it as important to mention the rapid increase in the price of gas and electricity, primarily in the European Union countries, due to the new policies and practices coming out from "The European Green Deal", which will undoubtedly have an impact on increasing the operation costs of sports facilities, which will lead to an increase in club and player fees. This may become a limiting factor for increasing the number of teams as well as limiting business activities for those who own or lease minifootball sports centres on a long-term basis and thus invest in the development of minifootball sports infrastructure. Thus, in the case of planned new developments of minifootball infrastructure, it is necessary to consider the higher investment in more 'green' buildings at the outset and the return on this investment through the savings that low-energy buildings will generate for them in the years to come.

A seminar for international referees was also held in the first half of the year, for which I thank the WMF Referee Committee and especially to Mr. Nemanja Ljumovic, the WMF Referee Committee chairman, for his great work in this year. I believe that these online seminars for referees from Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and PAMF with guests from the US and Canada, as well as the practical ones, will contribute to the increase in number of more excellent referees on the international field (more than 200 where at least 10% are women), as well as to their performance at championships.

Even though 2021 was accompanied by social restrictions, there are associations that have stuck in my mind despite these restrictions, and I would like to highlight their work over the past year. Some of them, the Brazilian Federation of Minifootball and its concept of promoting and branding the competitions of minifootball in Brazil, the Iranian Federation of Minifootball, to which I would add the word "BESTCOMER 2021", as a newcomer in the WMF structures, for its rapid development and organization of this sport in Iran. Minifootball Ghana for their progressive development of minifootball; Slovakian Federation for their excellent promotion of minifootball in Slovakia, the ongoing national league for men's minifootball and the U23 competition, the competitions I would like to see in every member country, as well as the successful branding for the upcoming EMF EURO 2022; EMF and Minifootball Turkey for their excellent organized EMF Business Cup and Libyan Minifootball Federation for their high level of minifootball organization in Libya. Very special congrats for the skyrocketing development goes to Egypt, as they invested vast amount of effort, and I believe that this trend that they set will go on and serve as the good practice example to all. At the same time, I see it as my duty to thank all those who have actively and purposefully contributed to the further growth of the values of minifootball at regional and national level over the past year. The fact that they are not among the above mentioned does not mean that I do not appreciate their value. I look up to every national association president as a representative of the mass of people represented by him in his country and I have respect for each one of them. And those who have demonstrated their ability to brilliantly organize, develop and promote minifootball at the national level should then be part of the World Federation's Executive Committee or at least some of its advisory committees to which they should take their successful work. Everyone creates her or his own value in the international environment of minifootball, through their work in their national federation, as well as through communication, opinions, ideas, and actions in the international structures of minifootball.

I would also like to congratulate the African Minifootball Confederation for managing to organise the African Minifootball Cup even in Covid-ridden times. Similarly, my congratulations go to the new WMF members who were admitted at the WMF Annual General Meeting last October.

I would also like to wish the new leadership of the Romanian Minifootball federation and its president Talvan Ovidiu the success in the next mission of organizing, developing, and promoting minifootball. 

This year, during the first month, we will be negotiating an agreement between the WMF and a production agency to have an outlook onto the preparation of the WMF International Sports Championships, which I see as an important step to increase the value of WMF international events. Together with this activity, a comprehensive document "Guideline to organize WMF championships" has been finalized, which is an inventory of all the innovations for WMF championships, but also of the shortcomings and their solutions that have emerged during the last international minifootball events. Together with this document, the document "Guideline for WMF WORLD CUP bidders", which is a call for all bidders to organize the WMF WORLD CUP MEN and WMF WORLD CUP WOMEN together with the WMF WORLD CUP U23, has been revised, thanks to the efforts of  the President of PAMF and the Brazilian Minifootball Federation Rico Chermont, who did it with a kind help of the WMF Secreraty General Zorica Hofman. In a matter of days, the final decision on the venue and date for the COVID-19 postponed WMF WORLD CUP MEN 2021 will also be made.

I also consider it important to unify the procedure for accepting and suspending membership in the WMF and continental federations.

In the first quarter of this year, I plan to visit selected Asian countries with the aim of increasing their numbers in the WMF, strengthening the value of the Asian Minifootball Confederation, and negotiating a venue to host the Asian Minifootball Championships. During January, the African Minifootball Confederation Referees' Seminar will be held in Istanbul, Turkey.

I will continue to promote the three core values of a non-profit organisation, without which an organisation cannot function: democratic elections, accounting transparency and competence, i.e., that the professional staff in the WMF structures are all competent in both knowledge and experience in the area in which they work.

In conclusion, let me thank to all the presidents of the national associations of minifootball for their work and efforts, who in these difficult times have been able to continue their national and regional competitions with dignity, and to my colleagues - fellow members of the Executive Committee of the World Federation, to the Secretary General of the World Federation, Mrs. Zorica Hofman, to the Chairman of the PR Department, Mr. Dejan Vujanić, to the members of the Committees, who with their expert knowledge regularly help the Executive Committee to objectively evaluate individual topics, and to the referees and staff of the WMF Championships.

May you have a healthy New Year and let 2022 be the fulfilment of your important wishes and may you reach the highest level of positive manifestations in both personal and professional sphere. I wish your experiences with family members, colleagues and friends bring only good vibrations, and I hope your quality of life increases despite the outer circumstances.

Do not forget to nurture your body and to practice sports, and if you find that minifootball is what fits you, it will be the greatest gift to me. 

Sincerely,

Filip Juda
World Minifootball Federation president

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