FIFA Pledges Support For Ebola-Hit Countries

FIFA-boss-Sepp-BlatterFIFA plans to dip into its solidarity fund to help three impoverished West African nations – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – stricken by the deadly Ebola virus.

World football’s governing body said that at its next Finance Committee meeting in two weeks’ time on September 25 it would propose using solidarity fund resources to “support the member associations” of these three countries in the fight against the disease.

FIFA stressed that the additional financial support would “have to be spent in solidarity with a local United Nations (UN) initiative”.

The announcement came as it emerged that the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in the Liberian capital Monrovia is to serve as the site for two large-scale Ebola treatment units, having been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the safest and most effective location.

Well over 2,000 people have died from Ebola in the current outbreak, and Liberia’s Defence Minister, Brownie Samukai, has said that the country faces a “serious threat” to its national existence.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has pledged that the organisation will cover the costs of any damage to the Monrovia pitch that might be caused by the treatment units, a gesture acknowledged by Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the UN on Sport for Development and Peace.

“The Ebola outbreak also has a tremendous impact on the sport community,” Lemke said.

“National authorities, the UN and the world of sport need to work closely together in order to halt the spread of the disease.

“The commitment of sport organisations to support our efforts is very much welcomed and crucial.

“It is my hope that many will join in this fight.”

Three West African nations – Nigeria, as well as Sierra Leone and Liberia – withdrew from the recent Youth Olympic Games in China because of the crisis, and all international sporting events in the Ivory Coast, another West African nation, were last month suspended.

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