Infantino makes African stadium pledge

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has reiterated his pledge to build at least one top stadium in every member association nation in Africa.

In November, Infantino outlined a $1bn (£766m/€904m) plan to ensure every African country has at least one stadium that complies with the standards of world football’s governing body.

FIFA has now said that it will work with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to assemble a panel of partners and a fund worth at least $1bn to make “solid and sustainable” infrastructural investments on the continent.

Speaking at a seminar in the Moroccan capital of Rabat that focused on the development of African football, Infantino said: “We are elaborating a proposal to mobilise $1bn to build at least one top stadium in the countries of each of FIFA and CAF’s 54 member associations. In the countries where there is already at least one very good stadium, the investments can be done in other infrastructures.”

Infantino has previously said that FIFA would look to mobilise companies and entrepreneurs to secure the $1bn to help it meet its stadium objective.

Infantino used the seminar in Rabat to outline his wish to “project African football to the top of the world”. The FIFA president unveiled a joint strategy with CAF for the elevation of African football that will focus on refereeing, investment mobilisation and competition development.

FIFA will also seek a range of new initiatives, including the creation of a world nations league for women’s football, more frequent youth world championships, more youth competition categories, a repositioning of the Africa Cup of Nations so it takes place once every four years, and the creation of a new pan-African club competition.

Infantino added: “We have been talking about the development of African football for many years. Pelé once said that an African team would win the FIFA World Cup, but this hasn’t happened and it seems we are not making progress. Today must be the day we turn that page.”

Image: Doha Stadium Plus Qatar