African Union and FIFA on the same wavelength

Johannesburg was the venue today for a productive meeting between FIFA representatives and members of the African Union. On the table for discussion were the “Football for Health” programme and the medical legacy that FIFA plans on leaving in Africa once the FIFA World Cup™ is over.

FIFA representatives - FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, FIFA Chief Medical Officer Prof. Jiri Dvorak, Chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee Michel d’Hooghe and FIFA Development Director Thierry Regenass - and African Union members discussed the importance of combining education, sport and health in order to form a unified approach to development.

The African Union, the chair of which is currently held by Malawi, was represented by the Hon. Dr. Lucius Kanyumba, Malawian Minister of Youth and Sport, Alexander Mseka, Principal Secretary of the Malawian Ministry of Youth and Sport, and Christopher V. Kang'ombe, Principal Secretary of the Malawian Ministry of Health. All stated that they felt extremely positive about the enduring legacy that the 2010 FIFA World Cup would leave in Africa. FIFA took the opportunity to point out that the main focus of the "Football for Hope" movement was also education and health.

Furthermore, the African Union, which employs a rotating presidency system much like that of the European Union, put on record that governmental changes were not likely to have any long-term affect on the implementation of health, education and sports development strategies within schools.

The constructive nature of the meeting made it clear that the two organisations have common ground that could well be explored in the future, particularly in the areas of education and health.