Fifa boss signs MoU with Asean
Region urged to invest more in its own ventures
published : 3 Nov 2019 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Asean and Fifa on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding to use football to help boost social development in the region.
"After some decades of discussion among all the Asean countries, finally we found the one topic that unites everyone. It's this -- it's football," said Fifa president Gianni Infantino at the signing ceremony at the Asean Summit.
"People in your countries, businesses in your countries invest 10 times more in European football than in football in Asean. We need to invest in Asean."
The agreement will see both parties invest in education, especially in Fifa's Football for Schools programme which aims to incorporate the sport into physical education.
Both parties will also work to promote football, with a focus on women and marginalised communities.
They also aim to focus on child safeguarding and boost sporting integrity through a raised awareness of clean and fair play.
Asean secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi said: "Football, and sports in general, is a strategic means for bringing people together, promoting greater people-to-people connectivity, and binding us stronger as one community.''
The deal comes just weeks after Asean countries agreed to set up a working group to look into the possibility of a joint bid by five of its members for the 2034 Fifa World Cup.
The five nations are Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Infantino said he was pleased with Asean's plan to bid for the World Cup.
"This is something that is worth pursuing for such a big part of the world. We have to work to invest in football, in club competitions, in a true Asean champions league," the Fifa chief said.
Several other countries have shown interest in staging the 2034 World Cup including China, Egypt, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and joint bidders Australia and New Zealand.