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Infantino spells out $1bn African stadium vision

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has outlined a $1bn (£775.6m/€908.8m) plan to ensure every African country has at least one stadium that complies with the standards of world football’s governing body, while leading DR Congo club TP Mazembe has spelled out its vision to develop a 50,000-capacity home.

Infantino (right of picture) was speaking as he, and a senior FIFA delegation, visited TP Mazembe’s home city of Lubumbashi this week as part of the club’s 80th anniversary celebrations. FIFA is engaged in an ongoing drive to enhance the administration of African football. In July, it signed a protocol agreement with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to outline a road map for the two organisations to support the latter’s reform process.

The road map covers the three main areas of financial management, good governance and internal procedures; efficient and professional organisation of competitions; and the growth and development of African football.

Speaking at a press conference in Lubumbashi, Infantino detailed FIFA’s plans to support and develop football in the DRC and Africa, focusing on the three main pillars of infrastructure, competitions and refereeing.

Infantino said FIFA will look to mobilise companies and entrepreneurs to secure around $1bn with the objective of building at least one stadium that complies with FIFA’s standards in each African country. He also mentioned the possibility of creating an ‘African League’ featuring the continent’s best clubs.

Infantino said: “What I want, what FIFA wants and what football needs is to see African football shine. We want to bring it to the highest of heights and show the world the outstanding talent and amazingly gifted players your continent possesses.

“To do this, we want to implement a three-pillar approach: refereeing, infrastructure and competitions. In close cooperation with CAF, the 54 member associations across Africa and other stakeholders, I am positive that we will make African football reach the top level where it should be because the quality and potential are definitely here.”

Meanwhile, TP Mazembe president, Moise Katumbi, has detailed the club’s stadium ambitions. With 17 domestic Linafoot league titles and five African Champions League victories, TP Mazembe is DR Congo’s most successful club.

The club has played at the 18,500-seat Stade TP Mazembe since 2011 and Katumbi told the BBC: “We got a loan sometime back to construct a stadium but its capacity is only 22,000 meaning that the majority of our fans can only watch our matches on television. But we want to build a brand new one next year. The capacity will be 50,000.”

Image: TP Mazembe