President of FIFA,
Dear colleagues, members of the great football family, Administrators, Legends, Coaches, members of media
Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,
Its a real pleasure to meet you, the players of the football industry, especially when it comes to football, its development and this time infrastructure.
I am more than happy because the decision we made in Sharm El Sheikh during the meeting of the CAF Executive Committee in September 2018 where we mandated the president of the Finance Committee to prepare a project aimed at providing each country in Africa with a stadium and at the same time to seek the modes of financing.
It is essential for CAF that all African Member Associations finally have stadiums to match the talent of its players, equal to the passion that African supporters have for football, and to match our ambitions in world football.
In some international media, African football is portrayed as a colourful image of a street football, pitches, or beaches which corresponds to a certain reality, charming of course but which is also up to us to evolve towards another dimension, that of international competitions where Africa has to play completely its own score, always colorful, different, particular, diversified and in accordance with its traditions, values and contributing to the development of world football.
The reality is also that our players are playing more and more today in championships outside the continent, and that’s a great thing. But we must also ensure that those who remain on the continent are not neglected by providing them with a healthy and secure environment.
It is important for our foreign based players can play with their national teams on the continent without fear and in all serenity, to give the best of their abilities. It is equally important that our local competitions, all age groups combined, take place in stadiums of international standards to acquire this culture of excellence and professionalism that we have long lacked. We can no longer go back and want to participate fully at the big stage of world football.
We must give ourselves the means to mobilize the various partners for the implementation of this project.
Dear presidents of Member Associations, I know your challenges when it comes to dealing with Sports Ministries and Municipal Authorities for the access of stadia that are under their management, and whose maintenance often leaves much to be desired. It is essential that you can manage your own infrastructures, possibly within the framework of Public Private Partnership, to keep control of your competitions and be less dependent on decisions emanating from other entities, political or otherwise.
I would also add that these infrastructures will have the characteristic of eco friendly, respecting the environment, essential to us.
I am perfectly aware that building stadia is not an end in itself: we will have to manage them, make them profitable and maintain it. These are major investments for Member Associations, clubs and the future of their football, the basis of a real economy, generating income and jobs along the chain.
Dear President Gianni, I am delighted with the framework of this partnership that FIFA is fully participating in the infrastructure and competition development project in Africa. Thank you for your support, your collaboration and the special attention you give to African football. I have no doubt that together we will succeed in finding the resources necessary to carry it out.
It is important to specify that we will also be reflecting on the format of our competitions, management, periodicity and the different categories.
It is in this sense that besides this seminar we are organizing a workshop dedicated to General Coordinators and Technical Study Group members in order to respect the standards required for the stadia that will host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers.
Ladies and Gentlemen, once again I applaud the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, an unwavering partner, and their President for offering to host this important seminar for the future of our sport today.
I indulge all of you to be attentive, open, constructive and innovative in the discussions during this seminar. Your commitment, ideas and your proposals are invaluable in achieving the best possible project and an effective mobilization of partners for a more beautiful and visible African competitions worldwide.
Our CAF is in the midst of transformation and we are asking all those who love Africa and football to contribute. I express my gratitude to the representatives of our partners who are here today for their availability and especially for their commitment.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)