FIFA proposes special African league, to mobilize $1 billion investment to bring African football to the top level
London, Nov. 29, 2019 (AltAfrica)-FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday he would like to see an African league created as part of a three prong approach to develop and bring African football to international standard
Infantino was speaking in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after he visited the site of TP Mazembe’s new football stadium which will be able to hold 50,000 fans, and the club’s youth academy as part of activities to celebrate the 80th birthday of club TP Mazembe
The FIFA president spoke about three specific pillars which include refereeing, infrastructure and competitions, as well as FIFA’s plans to develop these hand in hand with CAF and the African football stakeholders.
The first pillar, refereeing, will create a professional and elite group of African referees who will be independent of administrative and political bodies. This follows on from CAF’s last Executive Committee meeting at which a decision to implement reforms in the refereeing sector was approved.
The second pillar, infrastructure, will see FIFA mobilise companies and entrepreneurs to gather around USD 1 billion with the objective of building at least one stadium that complies with FIFA’s standards in each African country.
The third pillar, competitions, focuses on developing new and better competitions to generate more revenues so that the African clubs can retain talented players.
Infantino mentioned the possibility of creating an African League that would see the best clubs from the continent play against each other and the organisation of regional competitions and youth tournaments to further help the development of young players in Africa.
“We have to take the 20 best African clubs and put them in an Africa league,” Infantino said during a visit to the DR Congo to celebrate the 80th birthday of club TP Mazembe.
“Such a league could make at least 200 million in revenue, which would put it among the top 10 in the world,”
“What I want, what FIFA wants and what football needs is to see African football shine. We want to bring it to the highest of heights and show the world the outstanding talent and amazingly gifted players your continent possesses.
The 49-year-old who took over as head of world football’s governing body in February 2016 said his ideas were to help the sport in the continent compete on a global level.
“We’ll take the best African referees and pay them. We will depoliticise it and professionalise African refereeing,” he said.
“I want to take African football to the top of the world,” he added.