FIFA funds linked to good governance criteria – Infantino

Gianni Infantino addresses the media

Gianni Infantino addresses the media

The Ghana Football Association (GFA), is a beneficiary of an annual US$1.25m football development and promotion aid from FIFA, Gianni Infantino, president of the world football federation has divulged.

From this sum, a total amount of US$500,000 takes care of the FA’s operational cost with the rest of the US$750,000 expected to fund football projects across the country.

It also emerged that the GFA is one of the many beneficiaries of a four-year US$170,000 aid to procure equipment such as footballs and others to develop the game.

These came to light yesterday when the FIFA president addressed journalists after a holding a closed door meeting with football officials, led by FA president, Kwesi Nyantakyi.

Ghana becomes Infantino’s fourth destination of his African tour geared at strengthening ties between Africa and FIFA. He has been to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Uganda.

Mr. Infantino again revealed to the media that in addition to these supports, FIFA also makes available a sum of US$175,000 to cover traveling expenses of the GFA and other FAs on other continents that finds travels very expensive.

Mr. Infantino, however, noted that any amount given to associations by the football governing body is linked to the good governance criteria which are enumerated in the FIFA Statutes and not based on friendship and goodwill.

“At FIFA, monies are not distributed based on friendship. It is based on some concrete criteria that has to be followed by every association and confederation and one of the criteria is the publication of the accounts of the association.”

He cautioned that funds must be open and made public. Everybody must know where the money is coming from and where it is going. This is monitored and checked by FIFA.”

“For FIFA, this is an important tool to make sure that good governance and transparency are really in place at all national associations.”

He also revealed that prior to his election, he was not aware the confederations had zones that organise competitions, adding that, “I thought  the zones were political groups to decide seats at elections but I later got to know they were actually bodies that were organising competitions as well and at times they struggle to organise these competitions.”

Through his effort, the FIFA council and congress approved a US$1m support to these zones to organise football competitions at the developmental stages.

He explained that his visit to Africa was to discuss the development of football on the continent and not to meddle in the political affairs of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

“Election is a democratic process which functions in a way that delegates who are entitled to vote freely according to their wishes decide on who leads them. It is not up to the FIFA president to decide or dictate to any association member on who or which way to vote.”

“The association presidents are matured enough to take their own decisions devoid of my influence,” he added.

He commended the Ghana’s Black Stars for their exploits at the FIFA World Cups, stating that ‘they have written so many pages of not only history of football but the legendary side of football.’

“You have contributed to making the game of football what it is in the world today, the number one sport, and the sport that we all love. The Black Stars are a significant part of world football history.”

Mr. Infantino said Ghana has to play a lead role in the affairs of football because it is a big country when it comes to football and with the help of the entire football community, this dream can be achieved.

He was confident the number of African countries at the World Cup could rise above seven if the 48-country World Cup proposal was adopted at the next congress of the federation.

By Raymond Ackumey

 

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