Tuesday 18 July 2023, 10:45

FIFA President visits Tahiti and takes part in spectacular inauguration of Festival des Îles

  • Gianni Infantino met the President of French Polynesia Moetai Brotherson

  • FIFA President took part in the inauguration of new pitch funded by FIFA Forward

  • Festival des Îles features football, beach soccer and futsal tournaments

Gianni Infantino met the President of French Polynesia Moetai Brotherson, officially opened an artificial turf pitch funded by FIFA Forward and took part in the spectacular inauguration of the Festival des Îles football tournament as he became the first FIFA President to visit Tahiti. After being welcomed by the Tahitian Football Association (FTF) President Thierry Ariiotima, Mr Infantino began the day by visiting the President of French Polynesia, Moetai Brotherson alongside FIFA Vice-President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani. “It's a great honour to be received here, in the Presidential Palace by the President - a sportsman - with all of his administration. We truly feel at home here. We can really drive football and sport forward together in this wonderful country, with its beautiful islands and young talented people,” said Mr Infantino. FIFA Deputy Secretary General - Football Mattias Grafström and FIFA Senior Football Adviser Youri Djorkaeff were also part of the delegation.

The FIFA President then took part in the inauguration of a new artificial turf pitch, funded by the FIFA Forward programme, at the FTF headquarters in Pirae. “I’m happy to be able to contribute with the FIFA Forward Programme to the creation of this beautiful pitch, of this stadium, of this place where we will be able to play football,” he said. “Football is a team sport, so [we have to continue] working as a team to produce even more happiness and smiles on the faces of all of those young people in Tahiti, in French Polynesia.”

He also participated in the opening ceremony of the Festival des Îles which is taking place for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic and involves men’s and women’s teams from 23 islands who compete in football, beach soccer and futsal. A total of around 1,100 players are involved and this year has also seen the introduction for the Festival des Jeunes for under-13 teams. After the ceremony, the FIFA President completed his visit by taking part in a friendly game at the newly inaugurated pitch.