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FIFA Council approves more funding for Fiji FA

Fiji Football Association has been allocated up to US$8 million after the FIFA Council last month unanimously approved the Annual Report 2023, confirming US$2.25 billion investment of FIFA Forward 3.0 for the 2023-2026 cycle.

The FIFA Forward 3.0 programme will create new facilities, including a new boutique stadium in Lomolomo, enhance local expertise, support local competitions, and enable Fijian teams to compete on the international stage.

The allocation from that US$8m allocated to Fiji FA, around US$5m will be used in operations to run local and international competitions, and US$3m is allocated to special projects in the next 4 years.

In Fiji, the first two cycles of FIFA Forward were used to create the Labasa Academy, with state-of-the-art facilities for players in the Northern Division.

Over $US2.3m of FIFA Forward funding was used to build changing rooms, an outdoor futsal court, dormitories, technical, conference and multi-functional rooms that can be used for dining or study.

Included in this development is the construction of 2 beach soccer courts in Ba and Labasa academies.

FIFA Development Officer David Firisua, responsible for the Oceania region, says that the next round of FIFA Forward funding will used to further expand the Labasa project by creating new football pitches including an international size all weather football ground and a reserve training pitch.

“These facilities are vital for the development of football in the region but are also a wonderful asset for the wider community,” said Firisua, who adds that the academy also becomes an income generator.

“Most of the football facilities in Fiji are the property of the local government, which limits the commercial opportunities for the FFA. By owning their own facility in Labasa, the local and national football federation now has the chance to use the facilities to create new income streams.”

Another key project funded by earlier FIFA Forward programmes is the new gym in Suva, which has become a valuable new facility for players at the Suva Academy and the national teams preparing for international competitions.

Around US$265,000 was used to build the facility and another US$77,000 to purchase the gym equipment.

Firisua said the King Pele Fitness Centre in Suva is another piece of infrastructure that will enable the Fiji Football Federation to generate more income through gym memberships.

“By creating these income streams, the FFA has more money to invest in the local game, but also becomes less independent on external funding streams like FIFA.”

“Good infrastructure is vital to grow the game, but increasing capability and skills among coaches, players and administrators is even more important.”

The new allocation for FIFA Forward 3.0 announced by the FIFA Council recently represents an almost sevenfold increase in football development investment.

Over the first two cycles of the FIFA Forward Development Programme from 2016-22, approximately US$2.8 billion was made available for investment in the 211-member associations, as well as in the six confederations and the various zonal/regional associations, to significantly bolster football development in their territories.

“Thanks to its solid financial governance, FIFA is well on track to exceed its budgetary target of USD 11 billion for the 2023-2026 cycle,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino, following the FIFA Council meeting.

“This means that we will be able to deliver more tailored services for our 211 member associations to assist them in realising their development and education projects and taking football to the next level.”

Around the world, between 2016 and 2022, more than 1,600 projects with a long-term impact on football development were approved.

Approximately a third (524) of these projects were related to football infrastructure, including a significant number that focused on technical centres and stadiums, where skills are honed, and football inspires all. Furthermore, 208 projects for new or revamped competitions offered playing opportunities for more than 300,000 male and female players worldwide.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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