Mr President of FIFA,
Dear Colleagues, member of the great football family, elected officials, administrators, legends, technicians and the football media.
Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a real pleasure to meet you, the players in football, especially when it comes to football, its development and this time of this real question of infrastructure.
I am all the more happy because the decision we made in Sharm El Cheikh at the meeting of the executive committee in September 2018 where we had mandated the President of the Finance Commission to prepare a project aimed at providing each country with Africa of a stadium and at the same time to seek the modes of financing.
It is essential for CAF that all African federations finally have stadiums up to the talent of its players, up to the passion that African supporters have for football, and up to our ambitions on the chessboard of world football.
In some international media, African football has this picturesque and colorful image of a street sport, fields, or beaches which corresponds to a certain reality, charming of course but which it is also up to us to evolve towards another dimension. , that of international competitions where Africa must play completely its own score, always colorful, different, special, diverse and consistent with its traditions, its values and contributing to the concert of world football.
The reality is also that our players are playing more and more often in championships outside the continent, and that’s a great thing. But we must also ensure that those who remain on the continent are not neglected by providing them with a healthy and secure environment.
It is important for our expatriates that they play with their national teams on the continent without apprehension and in all serenity and that they can give the full measure of their talents there. It is just as important that our local competitions, all age groups combined, take place in stadiums to standards to acquire this culture of excellence and professionalism that we have long lacked. We can no longer go back and want to participate fully in the concert of world football.
We must give ourselves the means and mobilize the various partners for the implementation of this project.
I also address you, dear Presidents of Football Federations. I know your difficulties when it comes to dealing with sports ministries and municipalities for the provision of stadiums that are under their management, and whose maintenance often leaves something to be desired. It is essential that you can manage your own infrastructure, possibly within the framework of Public Private Partnership, to keep control of your competitions and be less dependent on decisions emanating from other entities, political or other.
I would also add that these infrastructures will have the vocation of being “green”, of fully respecting the principles of respect for the environment so essential for us in Africa.
I am perfectly aware that building stadiums is not an end in itself: we will have to manage them, make them profitable, maintain them. These are real investments for our Federations, their clubs and the future of their football, the basis of a real economy, generating income and jobs all along the chain.
Dear President Gianni, I am delighted within the framework of our partnership that FIFA is fully participating in this infrastructure and competition development project in Africa. Thank you for your support, your collaboration and the special attention you give to African football. I have no doubt that together we will succeed in finding the resources necessary to carry it out.
It is important to specify that we will also be reflecting on the format of our competitions, their management, their frequency and the different categories.
It is in this sense, moreover, that in parallel with this seminar, we are organizing a workshop dedicated to our General Coordinators and member of the TSG in order to respect the standards required for the stadiums that will host the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifications.
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to thank once again the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, an unwavering partner, and its President for offering to host this important seminar for the future of our sport today.
I ask you today to be attentive, open, constructive and innovative in the discussions during this seminar. Your commitment, your ideas and your proposals are precious to achieve the best possible project and an effective mobilization of partners for even more beautiful and visible African competitions worldwide.
Our CAF is in full transformation and asks all those who love Africa and football to contribute. I already thank all the representatives of the partners who are present today for their availability and especially for their commitment.