The third leg of the FIFA President's trip to the Caribbean took him to Anguilla, an island idyll island of just 102 km square* *and some 13,000 people to the north of Saint Martin, and which is part of the North, Central American and Caribbean Confederation (CONCACAF).
The FIFA delegation, accompanied by CONCACAF President Jack A. Warner, arrived on the evening of 27 September and met the island's governor, his Excellency William A. Harrison. The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Sport Edison A. Baird, the president of the Anguilla FA Raymond E.G. Guishard and general secretary Damien Hughes.
"Football has the same values for each and every one of the 208 FIFA member associations: it's a school of life," declared FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. The governor congratulated FIFA on the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, while the president of the AFA expressed his delight with the Goal Project. "This project will finally give football here the facilities it requires," Guishard said. "Matches have already been played there, including a number of women's games."
Football has the same values for each and every one of the 208 FIFA member associations: it's a school of life
The project consists of a technical centre located in the capital, Valley (which has almost 1,200 inhabitants), with a floodlit pitch, stands, dressing rooms and offices. It was inaugurated the following day in the presence of the Governor, the president of the AFA, the Minister of Sport, Chief Minister Hubert Hughes, Jack A. Warner, a number of former ministers and, of course, the FIFA President. A plaque was unveiled and a symbolic ribbon was cut.
The island's dignitaries thanked FIFA for the project which "made a dream come true by providing Anguilla with its first proper football facilities". They will no doubt help the national team which are currently 203rd in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, having lost a friendly in September 2-1 to British Virgin Islands.
Blatter also said the facilities "would help the development of the country. We cannot change the world," he added, "but we can certainly help to build a better future."
The ceremony was interspersed with traditional dances performed by young local girls and concluded with an award ceremony for various people involved in the project.
Having visited the FA's new offices located in the new stand, the FIFA President then held a press conference. "Other FIFA programmes, including 'Win in CONCACAF with CONCACAF' and the 'Professionalisation of Member Associations' should enable countries such as Anguilla to make further progress, and I certainly hope that this will be the case," Blatter concluded.