LAHORE: A two-member FIFA mission reached Lahore on Friday to brief the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) on the FIFA Forward Development Programme.
‘The News’ learnt through a highly reliable source that the delegation is headed by FIFA’s Regional Director for Asia and Oceania Sanjeevan Balasingam.
Sanjeevan, a former journalist from Malaysia, visited Pakistan in 2015 and observed the PFF elections at Changla Galli, Abbottabad, as representative of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The purpose of the visit is to inform the PFF about how it could benefit from the Programme which was launched in 2016 when Gianni Infantino took over as the world body’s president.
The delegation will also visit the PFF headquarters which has been recently regained by the federation following the Lahore High Court verdict a few days ago.
Sanjeevan last year in an interview said that they were at the forefront delivering the “FIFA Forward Development Programme.“So what has happened is that we have created a newer and better system to develop tailor-made projects to our 209 Member Associations (MAs). We are aware of the geo-political and cultural sensitivities and sensibilities,” Sanjeevan told Starsport last November.
He said this enables FIFA to deliver proper tailor-made projects that are key to football development from the grassroots to elite level.“We have to make sure that the projects are well structured to develop the game in every country,” Sanjeevan said.
FIFA website says about the programme: “We are significantly increasing our financial support for member associations and football development to 5 million US dollars per four-year cycle for each member association from 1.6 million US dollar per cycle.
“Each association has access to 750,000 US dollars per year for football projects such as pitches, competitions and women’s football. And every association also receives up to 500,000 US dollars per year for running costs in areas including administration and governance.
“We are increasing our financial support for the six confederations so that they can do more to develop football in their regions. Confederations now receive 40 million US dollars per four-year cycle for football development, up from 22 million US dollars.
“We are providing extra help to member associations that need it from football equipment and internship programmes to up to one million US dollars to cover travel costs so that women’s and youth teams can compete in international competitions.
“And we will give regional associations up to one million dollars per year to reimburse the cost of organising regional youth competitions for young women and men.”