Monday 25 March 2024, 13:30

Puerto Rico’s football infrastructure restored thanks to FIFA Foundation funding

  • Puerto Rican Football Association President Iván Rivera Gutiérrez writes open letter thanking FIFA for help in rebuilding facilities

  • Funding was provided through the FIFA Foundation Recovery Programme to repair Hurricane Fiona damage

  • The hurricane devastated the island, including its football ecosystem, in September 2022

The Puerto Rican Football Association (FPF) President, Iván Rivera Gutiérrez, has thanked the FIFA Foundation for its help in rebuilding football infrastructure following the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Fiona.

A significant part of the Caribbean island’s football landscape benefited from FIFA Foundation support, including two of its leading facilities, which stage the majority of national-team games, as well as domestic fixtures. One is the Centro de Formación y Desarrollo del Técnico del Oeste in Añasco, an important landmark, built with funding from the FIFA Forward Programme and owned by the FPF. The other is the Estadio Centroamericano de Mayagüez, which also received substantial help with repairs to enable the stadium to keep hosting the Puerto Rican national teams. The work carried out at both sites not only restored key facilities for the game in Puerto Rico, but also ensured the continuity and sustainable development of football in the region. Thanks to the swift action of the FIFA Regional Development Office in Panama, FIFA was alerted to the FPF’s urgent need for assistance and released funding for repair work through the FIFA Foundation Recovery Programme.

FIFA Foundation thanked for efforts in rebuilding hurricane-hit Puerto Rico’s football infrastructure

“FIFA’s solidarity efforts, which form part of its global strategy, include a wide range of programmes aimed at supporting the continued development of the game worldwide. One example is the FIFA Foundation Recovery Programme, which aids member associations affected by natural disasters or other serious events, with FIFA’s prompt and tangible response mitigating their impact and restoring our motivation to continue taking strides, while also ensuring that football gives the new generations of Puerto Ricans access to a better life,” wrote the FPF President in a letter to the FIFA Foundation.

As a result of the funding from the FIFA Foundation – which was established as an independent entity in 2018 with the goal of harnessing the power of football to improve lives – fencing and signage were rebuilt at the Añasco centre, while goalposts, nets and artificial-turf pitches damaged by the hurricane were repaired. The centre is a symbol of the FPF’s commitment to the development of football and the repairs after Hurricane Fiona preserved a vital space for football in Puerto Rico.

The playing surface at the stadium in Mayagüez was also restored to its former glory along with electrical infrastructure, allowing the venue to host official matches of the Puerto Rican national teams once again.

“The FIFA Foundation Recovery Programme’s intervention in Puerto Rico is a prime example of how the FIFA Foundation can step in to help any of FIFA’s 211 Member Associations when natural disasters or unforeseen events impact their football ecosystem,” explained the FIFA Foundation’s Executive Chairman, Mauricio Macri.

“I am proud of how the FIFA Foundation was able to provide swift and appropriate support to the FPF, who can now focus on pushing the game forward in the country, rather than having to retrace the steps so devastatingly wiped out by Hurricane Fiona,” he added.

FIFA Foundation thanked for efforts in rebuilding hurricane-hit Puerto Rico’s football infrastructure

In addition to the flagship centres in the west of the island, several other venues were made fit for purpose once again thanks to the FIFA Foundation’s funding. These span the southern region (the facilities in Yauco and Juana Díaz, the Ciudad Deportiva Millito Navarro in Ponce, the pitches at the Pista Atlética de Maunabo, and the Velódromo Panamericano de Coamo) and the San Juan metropolitan area (the Complejo Deportivo Residencial Juan C. Cordero Dávila).

“Football development in Puerto Rico has been on a constant upward trajectory in recent years,” said the FPF President. “This is a trend that must be continued based on the contribution of each of the domestic game’s stakeholders and its committed leaders and thanks, of course, to the support provided by FIFA, which offers renewed hope through initiatives such as the FIFA Foundation Recovery Programme.”

FIFA Foundation