Football development will top the agenda when FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter visits the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Panama as part of a six-day tour that kicks off on Sunday 14 April.
The first stop of the journey will be Dominican Republic’s capital, Santo Domingo, where President Blatter will officially open Goal project 3 on Monday 15 April, which involves the renovation of the Panamericano Stadium. On top of that, the first stone of a new futsal hall at the San Cristóbal technical centre - Goal4 – will be laid. Approximately USD $1.7m has been invested by FIFA since 1999 for the implementation of Goal projects on Dominican soil with an extra amount totally almost USD $4m provided since 1999 through the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) – the standard FAP investment that has benefited all CONCACAF countries.
The trip will proceed in Haiti with the inauguration of the association headquarters set to be the highlight of a 24-hour visit to Port au Prince. The new home of Haitian football is part of a larger USD $4m special project investment approved by FIFA following the earthquake that devastated the country on 12 January 2010. Funds have also been invested for the implementation of an artificial turf, the setting up of lighting systems at the Sylvio Cator Stadium, and the relaunch of national competitions, among other initiatives. Besides the special project, FIFA has approved four Goal initiatives in Haiti for a total amount of USD 1.7 million with an extra of USD $600,000 granted within the scope of “Win in CONCACAF with CONCACAF”.
I am looking forward to visiting the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Panama in the coming days, as they are four excellent examples in the CONCACAF region of how football can contribute to social development.
“I am looking forward to visiting the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Panama in the coming days, as they are four excellent examples in the CONCACAF region of how football can contribute to social development. The support provided by our sport to Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 2010, helping to bring relief and hope, is especially significant. The official opening of the Haiti FA headquarters next week is a strong symbol of Haiti’s road to recovery,” says FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
The symbolic kick-off to Goal projects 3 and 4 – the artificial turf and renovation of La Habana’s “La Polar” stadium – awaits the FIFA President in Cuba where he is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday afternoon. The visit comes only a few weeks after Cuba’s first-ever qualification for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, recently described by the President of the Cuban FA Luis Hernández as “the result of many years of well-planned work”. Over the last 14 years, FIFA has invested USD $800,000 through Goal Projects 1 and 2, and a little under USD $300,000 through the “Win in CONCACAF with CONCACAF” initiative, which gave the country access to equipment and expert advice.
Panama will mark the end of the six-day journey. In Panama City, President Blatter will attend the XXVIII Ordinary Congress of CONCACAF as well as the final of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship that will decide the continental representatives at this year's FIFA U-17 World Cup to be played in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, Goal projects 2 and 3 - the headquarters of Panama’s FA - will be officially unveiled on 18 April. So far FIFA’s Goal investment in Panama amounts to USD $1.5m since the implementation of the initial project in 2001.
Between 1999 – the year in which the FAP and the Goal programme started – and 2012, FIFA has invested USD $260,099,659 in football development in the CONCACAF region. While USD $186,750,000 corresponded to FAP funds, and USD $39,100,000 were invested in Goal projects, additional resources were transferred through adidas Goal balls in CONCACAF (USD $1,667,255), courses (USD $15,900,000), Win in CONCACAF with CONCACAF (USD $10,000,000), humanitarian support funds (USD $5,041,732), and PERFORMANCE (USD $1,640,672).
FIFA is currently providing CONCACAF with technical support for the implementation of two landmark initiatives: the implementation of a coaching and a club licensing scheme.