Friday 14 April 2023, 06:30

Gianni Infantino discusses football development during visit to the Union of the Comoros

  • Gianni Infantino met President Assoumani during a visit to the Union of the Comoros

  • Discussions centred on getting more people to play football in the country

  • FIFA President took part in a football turf inauguration ceremony, with the facility supported by FIFA Forward funding

Gianni Infantino has met the President of the Union of the Comoros, HE Azali Assoumani, to discuss ways of growing football during a visit to the Indian Ocean nation. Accompanied by the President of the Comoros Football Federation (FFC) Said Ali Said Athouman, the FIFA President also visited the national technical centre. "I was very happy and honoured to have met His Excellency, the President of the Comoros today. He is a huge football fan. Of course, we spoke about football, about infrastructures, about how we can help football grow in this beautiful country. There needs to be facilities and pitches on the three islands,” the FIFA President said.

“We need men and women on the islands to have more regular playing opportunities. We need to work together in schools, because football can play a very important role in education. We want to pool our resources, our funds and our programmes for the young people of Comoros and help more and more of them to play our beloved sport." One such example was witnessed in January this year, when The FIFA Football for Schools programme was launched in the Comoros, in an event attended by 40 coaches and 130 children.

Prior to visiting President Assoumani, who is the current Chairperson of the African Union which signed a MoU with FIFA and CAF in 2019, Gianni Infantino met the members of the FFC Executive Committee. He was then given a tour of the national technical centre at Mitsamiouli, which is being renovated with support from the FIFA Forward project, where he took part in an inauguration ceremony for a new football turf pitch. FIFA Deputy Secretary General Football Mattias Grafström and FIFA Director Member Associations Africa Gelson Fernandes were also part of the delegation, along with FIFA Legends Youri Djorkaeff and Houssine Kharja.

Mr Infantino and Mr Athouman both spoke of the importance of the FIFA Forward programme for Member Associations such as the FFC. “The FIFA Forward fund allows us to offer many training courses, thereby improving the quality of our coaches, referees and football directors, but also developing our infrastructure, like turfs that have been laid down here on Grande Comore Island, but also on Mohéli and Anjouan islands,” said Mr Athouman. “I really want to thank President [Gianni] Infantino for all the efforts he’s been putting in for football development in Comoros, in the COSAFA region, but across Africa as well.” FIFA Forward 3.0 was launched in January, providing a more comprehensive funding and support of football development projects across the world than ever before. The four-year cycle to the end of 2026 represents an increase in football development investment of almost 30% and is a direct consequence of the reinforced governance and financial situation of the new FIFA since 2016.

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