Saturday , March 25 2023

FIFA Forward funded Macau FA HQ to facilitate long-term football development!

In Chinese tradition, the Lantern Festival marks the final day of traditional New Year celebrations. This year, the festival also coincided with the start of a new chapter for football in Macau.

Director of FIFA Member Associations, Asia & Oceania, Sanjeevan Balasingam and Regional Office Development Manager, Lavin Vignesh visited the Macau Football Association to receive an update on the new member association headquarters, currently under construction, and funded by FIFA Forward.

Located in downtown Macau, 935 square metres of office space will not only enable the member association to house as many as 50 employees and spacious meeting areas, but also cater to the growing operations, activities and needs of the association, in line with Macau FA’s long-term football development plans.

Since 2016, FIFA Forward, coupled with the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Fund has seen more than USD 13 million invested into infrastructure, daily operational costs, and national team travel for both men’s and women’s national teams in Macau.

Globally, two successful iterations of the FIFA program have been completed since its inception, with over USD 2.8 billion committed to a diverse array of projects, providing tailor-made support to the needs of FIFA’s six confederations and 211 member associations. From 2023-2026 FIFA Forward 3.0 will see:

At its heart, FIFA Forward aims to improve the way FIFA develops and support football across the globe so that football can reach its potential in every single country, ensuring that everyone who wants to take part can do so without barriers.

“FIFA is proud to celebrate this milestone with the MFA today, as the Chinese New Year Cup 2023 welcomed back international club teams and fans to the Macau Olympic stadium for the first time post the COVID-19 pandemic” said Director of FIFA Member Associations, Asia & Oceania, Sanjeevan Balasingam.

“The pandemic severely affected Macau and the East Asia region. On a small peninsular like Macau where there is a scarcity of land, it is still vitally important that the MFA can have a fully functioning headquarters. This will enable them to continue to propel football forward through development initiatives ranging from grassroots to elite football.”

Whilst in Macau, the FIFA delegation also visited the 2023 New Year Cup. In attendance were President of the Macau Sports Bureau Mr. Pun Weng Kun, the Vice president of the Macau Football Association Mr Chong Coc Veng, and Macau Football Association General Secretary Mr. Chan Keng Hou.

Underpinning the strong ties between the MFA, Hong Kong (HKFA) and Chinese Football Association (CFA), the tournament featured Hong Kong Premier League giants Eastern, Guangdong Red Treasure FC and Zhuhai 2030 FC of the Guangdong Super League, and host club, 2022 Macau First Division champions MUST CPK FC.

The competition was particularly special for football lovers, with the largest number of fans – a 3,000 strong crowd – allowed in the stadium since the COVID-19 pandemic, three years ago.

It is not only football in Macau however that has been a beneficiary of the FIFA Forward Programme. The CFA utilised funding support to expand their U-19 national youth league in 2019, with participating players increasing by 35%. The HKFA, for their part launched a series of projects with support by FIFA Forward, including enhancing the organisation of their top-flight league competition to safeguard the well-being of players and officials during the pandemic.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, football activities were at a standstill in Macau for a long period of time” said Vice President of the Macau Football Association, Chong Coc Veng.

“During these difficult times, we focused on strategic planning to develop football on the peninsular of Macau, as one of FIFA’s smallest member associations. Undoubtedly, without FIFA’s financial support through the COVID-19 Relief Programme and the constant support and advice from FIFA’s regional office, this landmark day where football officially returned to Macau, would not have been possible.”

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