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Thu Apr 17 17:30:01 SAST 2014

Safa fails to score with GOAL

MARK GLEESON | 11 October, 2012 06:420 Comments
2013 AFCON: SAFA media briefing
Kirsten Nematandani during a South African Football Association media briefing at Hilton Hotel on April 13, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Image by: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

South Africa is one of 10 countries that have not taken advantage of a Fifa grant because they have failed to put together a firm proposal for a project for world football's governing body to fund.

In the week in which Fifa announced that its investment in its GOAL projects has reached almost R2-billion, it has emerged that South Africa is one of the countries that have not benefited.

GOAL is designed to facilitate the building of soccer infrastructure across the world for Fifa member associations.

Fifa has paid for 600 projects for 199 member associations.

Three years ago it proposed to Fifa that an upgrading of the School of Excellence, in Tembisa, could be a GOAL project but it had to get a lease on the land before the money would be sent from Zurich.

The project has been dormant ever since, even though, last month, Safa president Kirsten Nematandani claimed the long wait for the lease was at an end.

It has now emerged that this is not the case. The document is still not signed because there are clauses that Safa is unhappy with.

"It is not 100% finalised though we are getting close," said Safa CEO Robin Petersen yesterday.

The GOAL project was introduced by Sepp Blatter in 1999. It has become a cornerstone of Fifa policy with a huge department overseeing the disbursement of money.

Most projects involve building headquarters for football associations, training centres and dormitories, and laying artificial pitches.

The process is simple: the member association puts forward a plan and, if it is approved, Fifa will fund the structure but the land on which it is built must be obtained by the association.

Most football associations have leased the land or it has been donated by the state.

Fifa yesterday confirmed that it would not embark on the School of Excellence project unless it had a guarantee that Safa either owned the land or had a long lease over it.

Fifa officials said they were bewildered that Safa has not come up with a firm proposal while the money was available.

Africa has been the main beneficiary of Fifa funds, with 166 projects, followed by Asia, with 147.

South Sudan is to receive R3.8-million to build the headquarters of its football association and a soccer field in Juba, its capital.

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