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FIFA to provide a cash boost for Cambodia

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
Gianni Infantino visited Cambodia for the FIFA Executive Football Summit Series.​ Courtesy FFC

FIFA will provide a $1.25 million package to the Football Federation of Cambodia after a whistle stop tour by FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the weekend.

The cash, which will be distributed over four years to the FFC, is earmarked for the development of football fields and youth development programmes.

The donation was confirmed by Khiev Sameth, the vice-president of the FFC and the Asean Football Federation, who said FIFA’s generous grant would be vital in helping grow the kingdom’s mushrooming football scene.

“The meeting is mainly about football development, and is just what Cambodia needs,” explained Sameth.

“The FFC has established football schools in 25 provinces and cities throughout the country to develop football. And we want to invest more,” he added.

FIFA officials and delegates from around the region and the world, about 20 in all, had converged on the Cambodian capital for the latest instalment of football’s organising body FIFA’s Executive Football Summit Series.

Infantino, who arrived in Phnom Penh on Friday and was making his first trip to the kingdom since being installed as president in February 2016, led proceedings at the Sofitel hotel. Speaking to reporters, Infantino was optimistic about Cambodia’s progress.

“The federation [of Cambodia] is doing its job well,” he said. “Its youth development projects in all 25 provinces and cities sound very promising.

“We had discussions [with the FFC] on youth development as the country gears up for the 2023 Southeast Asia Games which will be hosted by Cambodia.”

The FIFA Executive Football Summit 2017/2018 is a series of conferences in which leaders discuss reform and development initiatives aimed at encouraging better governance of the world’s most popular game. This latest series kicked off in Baja, Azerbaijan, in November 2017 and will conclude in Lima, Peru, next month.

Each summit brings together officials of national member associations. Among those who took part in the Phnom Penh edition was Tengku Abdullah Al-Haj Ibni Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah, Crown Prince of the state of Pahang, Malaysia, a member of the FIFA council and a former President of the Malaysian Football Association.

Cambodia, which has received between $250,000 and $500,000 annually for development purposes from FIFA, now sits in 172nd place of 206 nations – behind Belize – in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Rankings.

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