Sunday 28 August 2022, 20:25

FIFA President inaugurates FIFA Forward project in Costa Rica

  • Gianni Infantino paid a visit to the Costa Rican Football Federation’s sports complex, where he met with the nation’s president and the FCRF president

  • The FIFA President officially opened a pitch funded by FIFA’s Forward Programme

  • In the evening the FIFA President attended the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2022

On Sunday 28 August, FIFA President Gianni Infantino visited the Costa Rican Football Federation’s sports complex in Alajuela, where he held a series of meetings and cut the ribbon on a football pitch funded by FIFA’s Forward Programme.

To cap off a busy day, he will watch the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2022™ between Spain and Japan at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose. The pitch inauguration was also attended by Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves Robles, and FCRF President Rodolfo Villalobos, as well as other dignitaries, leaders and prominent figures from the world of football.

“It’s not just that we’re all here today, but that we’re all here today with a smile; with happiness; with a heart filled with joy. And, this is just thanks to the huge work of the Costa Rican Football Federation, from Rodolfo’s team, also from Rodrigo’s team in the government. From everyone who has helped us make this Women’s U-20 World Cup a complete success. We have worked together as a football team – a football team that has won in a really difficult match. Because this Women’s U-20 World Cup is the first youth World Cup organised since the [COVID-19] pandemic,” said Infantino. A meeting of the FCRF Executive Committee, steered by Villalobos and attended by Infantino, Chaves Robles and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, kicked off the day’s events. During the gathering, the two FIFA representatives were shown a video of the upcoming projects that the federation plans to carry through with the help of funds from FIFA’s Forward Programme. These include facilities for the women’s youth sides and beach soccer changing rooms.

“Gianni, I want to congratulate you on this U-20 Women’s World Cup, but I have also noticed that, as an outside observer of global trends, you are working towards – and as are you, Rodolfo – a form of football that is more inclusive of young people, of women, and of the different variants of the sport, such as beach soccer,” said Chaves Robles. “In addition, you have also restored the legitimacy and value of FIFA’s brand of honesty. This is not like playing football; it’s a massive challenge, and I congratulate you for it.” The delegation then took a tour of the complex’s facilities, which included the new natural grass pitch. The work was initiated in March of this year and concluded in June, and was financed via the Forward Programme. The pitch represents part of the legacy of Costa Rica 2022, and will be exclusively used by the women’s teams. In fact, during the tournament, it was used as an official training pitch. Infantino, Chaves Robles, Villalobos and Samoura unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the moment.

“Today, with the help of the FIFA Forward Programme, we have added a third pitch to this sporting venue, one that adheres to all the quality standards necessary for our national teams to train in the best possible conditions,” remarked Villalobos. “We are hopeful that this will lead to improved results in international competitions.” After sharing a moment with the girls who were playing on the new pitch, the delegation moved on to the complex’s futsal gym, another project – opened in March 2018 – that was realised with the support of the FIFA Forward Programme. All of those in attendance then viewed a video demonstrating how the pitch was constructed. Additional guests included Luis Suarez, coach of the Costa Rica senior men’s team, Amelia Valverde, coach of the senior women’s side, and Alexandra Pinell, captain of the U-20 team that competed at Costa Rica 2022, who presented Infantino with a national-team jersey.