Emergency aid
© AFP

Helping to restore human dignity and ease the suffering caused by crises and natural disasters that strike at the heart of the football family is a responsibility that FIFA takes extremely seriously.

FIFA does not attempt to assume the role of the various professional aid agencies which respond to natural disasters. Instead, FIFA only contributes to the rehabilitation process after the initial phase of emergency relief and when its intervention is guaranteed not to interfere with the aid agencies’ work. FIFA’s response takes the form of raising funds to repair or rebuild football infrastructure and providing sporting or administrative material that has been either destroyed or lost. The goal of these undertakings is to return the sporting life of the affected region to normal as quickly as possible, especially for young people, so as to allow locals to enjoy the simple pleasures football can bring and restore a sense of normality.

By calling for help and organising charity matches, FIFA raises funds from within the football family to launch its own aid projects, which are strictly regulated to meet the following objectives:

• To promote the development or re-establishment of competitions and activities linked to football;
• To finance the rebuilding of sporting infrastructure and football pitches in schools;
• To offer a financial contribution during a crisis situation;
• To provide equipment, kits and balls;
• To help children overcome trauma through football.

The 2004 Asian tsunami

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) created a joint bank account to allow the football family to pool all the donations collected, from associations and confederations to clubs and partners, in order to help those associations affected by the tsunami. The FIFA/AFC Tsunami Solidarity Fund was launched on the basis of immediate donations of USD 2m and USD 1m from FIFA and the AFC respectively. UEFA pledged USD 1m soon afterwards and thanks to various other donations from across the world, as well as the 'Football for Hope' solidarity match in Barcelona on 15 February 2005, the total raised ultimately reached USD 10.55m. That money was used as follows in the countries affected by this disaster:

SRI LANKA
Funds allocated: USD 3,442,792
Main projects:
- Infrastructure (pitches, dressing rooms, accommodation facility) rebuilt for 17 clubs based in the area hit by the disaster
- Two coaching courses
- Distribution of sporting equipment

MALDIVES
Funds allocated: USD 1,646,233
Main project:
- Infrastructure (artificial pitches and technical centres) renovated on Male and Addu atolls

INDONESIA
Funds allocated: USD 3,438,508
Main projects:
- Infrastructure (stadiums, grass and artificial pitches, technical centres) renovated in the Aceh region on the island of Sumatra

THAILAND
Funds allocated: USD 1,029,432
Main project:
- Construction of the Tsunami Memorial Football Centre in Phuket (technical centre, clubhouse, training facilities), inaugurated on 15 September 2009 by President Joseph S. Blatter

BANGLADESH
Funds allocated: USD 269,050
Main project:
- Infrastructure (pitches and premises) rebuilt in Cox’s Bazar and Barisal

INDIA
Funds allocated: USD 1,000,298
Main project:
- A stadium rebuilt in the Nicobar Islands

Pakistan

On 8 October 2005, a major earthquake hit the north of Pakistan, close to the town of Muzzafarabad.
FIFA granted the sum of USD 500,000 to victims of the disaster, while the AFC pledged another USD 200,000.
Those funds made the following projects possible:

- A training complex in Peshawar (football pitch, offices, accommodation facility)
- Reconstruction of the ground in Kunj and the office facilities in Abbotabad
- Football For Hope Clinic I (28 August to 18 September 2006)
- Football For Hope Clinic II (22 February to 13 March 2007)

American Samoa

On 29 September 2009, an earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale occurred near the Samoan archipelago, producing a tsunami which caused damage and loss of life in American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga.

FIFA contributed to the rebuilding process via the Goal programme, by approving a Goal project to rebuild American Samoa’s technical centre in Pago Pago. The complex, featuring a grass pitch and accommodation facility, had originally been built thanks to the association’s first Goal project in 2003.

President Joseph S. Blatter inaugurated the rebuilt centre during a visit to Oceania on 14 January 2011.

Chile

On 27 February 2010, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded occurred off the coast of Chile. Measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale, it was promptly followed by a tsunami which wreaked havoc on the Chilean coastline.

To aid the reconstruction effort, FIFA was quick to pledge an emergency fund of USD 250,000. This was followed by a special allocation of USD 1.2m approved by the Executive Committee in March 2010, the money being distributed via the Goal programme to build an artificial pitch and dressing rooms in the Concepcion province town of Talcahuano, one of the areas worst affected by the disaster.

Haiti

After an earthquake devastated Haiti on 12 January 2010, FIFA’s Executive Committee pledged an allocation of USD 3m to a special projects fund for the country. That came after an initial USD 250,000 had been donated towards emergency aid, and from the special projects fund USD 379,500 was paid to clubs affiliated to the Haitian Football Association.

The fund likewise went towards restarting the Haitian championship and purchasing sporting equipment and various materials for the national technical centre, which was itself renovated and extended. Lastly, the Sylvio Cator stadium in Port-au-Prince was renovated, with an artificial pitch on the principal new features.