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FIFA investment: Nigeria, others get $110m annually, says Infantino

To support Africa in its quest to improve football facilities, Nigeria and 54 other nations in the continent receive over $110m from the world football governing body – FIFA annually.

In his historic address at the 32nd Ordinary Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the weekend, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “Africa is a continent that has always been very close to my heart. I have fond memories of watching the FIFA World Cup 1982 in Spain, when Cameroon quite seriously challenged my home team Italy, and when Algeria defeated West Germany before West Germany made it to the final against Italy, who won the competition.

“Football fans around the world were convinced that the African teams would soon reach the level of the best European teams. I’m sad to say that almost 40 years later African teams haven’t been able to make this shift and to reach the final stages of a FIFA World Cup, despite their impressive performances during the FIFA World Cups 2002 and 2010, and more recently during the FIFA World Cup Russia. This situation must change because of the great passion your continent has for football. Quite simply put, Africa lives football!”

Being the first time that any FIFA President had spoken before the Union, the Italian was keen to stress the importance of football giving back to Africa during his address saying: “I believe that just as Africa gives so much of its passion and positivity to football that football can give back to Africa and help the continent’s people in key areas: economic growth, education, gender mainstreaming, integration and football governance.

He however emphasised the importance of infrastructural development, and how FIFA is also developing infrastructure with the revenues from the World Cup which have seen investments of 110 million USD every year in new pitches, competitions and football facilities in Africa.

Infantino then spoke about football’s ability to help equality and empower people, in particular girls and women, saying: “Gender Equality is an issue that we must take seriously and I’m certain you will all be championing the three African teams participating in this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place in France. At the new

FIFA we are determined to change and our own Secretary General Fatma Samoura was the first woman to take up this role in 2016, the first time a woman ever held this role in the 112-year history of FIFA. She is a shining example of the skills and competencies of Africa.”

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The fIFA boss added: “We cannot afford for this beautiful game of ours to be poisoned by corruption. We have a mission to protect the integrity of our sport and FIFA reiterates its willingness to work with all of you to root corruption out of African football. By partnering with the African Union. We would also have the ability to share our expertise on matters like stadium construction and security across Africa, ensuring that stadia are properly constructed and equipped following best practice, ensuring safety of venues and fans attending sports competitions.”

Infantino underlined the tremendous potential Africa has ahead of it and his belief that by working hand in hand, FIFA and the African Union can accomplish real and positive change and build a sustainable future for generations to come.

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