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Why FIFA wants to develop football in Africa

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The position of some sections of the continent that the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) interest in the beautiful game in Africa is driven by a colonialist narrative is a misconception.

These in-depth ties indicate a major shift in FIFA’s goals since 2016 under the leadership of Gianni Infantino, who succeeded the controversial Joseph Blatter, under whose eyes the game in Africa was synonymous with embezzlement of FIFA funds for his sake. enrich.

Spending has increased significantly for the 211 FIFA football federations under the administration of Infantino, who took office in 2016, ending Blatter’s controversial reign (1998 to 2015).

Before Infantino, FIFA allocated between $ 250,000 and $ 300,000 per year to each federation.

This is about $ 60 million.

The irony is that under Infantino FIFA’s revenue did not increase significantly, but with a similar budget the global parent body increased allocations to federations five-fold.

FIFA now sends up to $ 1.5 million per year to each of its member associations.

“It is more than 300 million dollars per year, five times more than at the time of Blatter”, noted a president of the African federation.

The increase in allowances is in line with Infantino’s electoral manifesto, via the Forward program.

The financial outings have raised the question of why, with more or less the same income, FIFA is now distributing five times more than in the past.

The distribution of money, under the aegis of the Forward Funds, aims to grow the game worldwide.

“It is a key part of Gianni Infantino’s vision to make football truly global,” said a longtime observer of African football.

HE (Infantino) doesn’t mean he wants football to become popular around the world. It is already a reality. What he means is that he would like to see countries and clubs outside Europe become engines of football and democratize competitiveness on all continents.

The African Football Confederation (CAF), with 54 member associations, is FIFA’s largest confederation in terms of member countries.

Africa is lauded for its passion, talent and potential to shine on the world stage. However, bad governance has stifled this.

“Certain sectors of African football sometimes cast doubts on why FIFA is interested in CAF and African issues and use a dated narrative of ‘colonialism’,” CAF official said on condition of anonymity .

The official said these people represented the past in which a handful of officials got rich at the expense of football.

“The future must be built in partnership. Taking the future in its own hands and in complete independence does not mean that Africa should be ashamed of working hand in hand with FIFA. African and world football will only have to win with him, ”he added.

Infantino recently embarked on a tour of Africa.

One of the highlights of his itinerary was the inauguration of a regional development office in the Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

It reinforces FIFA’s commitment to supporting member associations in the implementation of infrastructure, competition, development and education projects.

Four of these offices are located in Africa.

They are in Dakar (Senegal), Johannesburg (South Africa), Brazzaville (Congo) and Kigali (Rwanda).

Infantino recalled that FIFA has increased the number of African national teams eligible to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2026 from five to nine or ten.

“FIFA wants to see African football reach the highest heights and we are confident that our network of regional offices will complement the work already underway to elevate African football,” the FIFA president told media covering his visit.

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