Fifa president Gianni Infantino has disclosed how football’s governing body plans to support and develop football in Africa.
The Swiss-Italian was speaking during the 80th-anniversary celebration of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi, where he visited the site of the club’s new football stadium, which will be able to hold 50,000 fans, and the club’s youth academy.
He reiterated that Fifa wants to work with the Confederation of African Football (Caf) in conjunction with stakeholders to improve refereeing, infrastructure and competitions on the continent, which he referred to as a “three-pillar approach”.
“What I want, what FIFA wants and what football needs is to see African football shine,” Infantino stated.
“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.”
Fifa seeks to implement reforms in the refereeing sector, and plans are already in motion to establish a professional and elite group of African referees who will be independent of the administration and political bodies.
On infrastructure, Infantino stated how the governing body would rally companies and mobilize companies and moguls to raise around $1bn, with the aim of erecting at least one stadium that matches Fifa standards in each African country.
Lastly, he spoke about the possibility of an African League, which will pit the best sides on the continent against each other, being established. No details were given regarding the proposed competition, and how it will affect the Caf Champions League.
Infantino also visited TP Mazembe’s academy, where club president and vice-president of the new World Football Club Association, Moise Katumbi, gave a tour of the facilities.
The group with the Fifa president included Caf President and Fifa vice-president Ahmad Ahmad, Fifa secretary-general and general delegate for Africa Fatma Samoura, Fifa legend and special Advisor to Caf President Samuel Eto’o, Fifa Legend and CEO of the Fifa Foundation Youri Djorkaeff and Fifa deputy secretary-general Mattias Grafstrom.