FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s week-long tour of several Asian countries concluded in the Philippines today, a journey which has given him the chance to see first-hand the growing importance of the game across the region, from Korea DPR to Mongolia, Laos, Bangladesh and Brunei Darussalam. His visit to Manila included fruitful discussions with key political figures and the Philippines Football Federation (PFF) leadership.
During his stay in the Filipino capital, the FIFA President notably held a meeting with Senator Pilar Juliana Cayetano, and with international boxing legend and current Senator of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao. Throughout those conversations, the FIFA President and the local leaders highlighted the enormous passion that surrounds football in the Philippines, and they agreed on the major role that the game can play as a vector of social development for the densely populated country, which comprises over 7,000 islands.
Infantino and his delegation also had the opportunity to discuss with the PFF President and FIFA Council member Mariano Araneta and the PFF Executive Committee about the significant efforts that the association is making to further develop the game in the archipelago, thanks notably to the FIFA Forward Programme. Recent results have been very encouraging, with both the senior men’s and women’s national teams qualifying for the latest editions of the AFC Asian Cup.
“The Philippines have made great progress in recent years with the development of football, becoming an important player in the region. But this is only a starting point, and more work needs to be done to develop the infrastructure and competitions at all levels, for men, women, boys and girls all over the archipelago, in order to fully tap into the great potential of football in a sport-oriented country such as the Philippines,” said President Infantino.
After leaving Manila, Infantino and his delegation flew to Shanghai in preparation for the next meeting of the FIFA Council to be held on 24 October.