Wednesday, March 16, 2011

FIFA president visits Burma, pledges more funds

Wednesday, 16 March 2011 21:56 Kyaw Kha

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) President Sepp Blatter told a press conference in Rangoon on Tuesday that FIFA would provide more finanaical assistance to Burma for the development of soccer sports in the country.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter shakes hands with Zaw Zaw,
the president of the Myanmar Football Federation, after
a press conference at the Sedona Hotel in Rangoon on
Tuesday, March 15, 2011. Zaw Zaw, a junta business
associate, won the construction contract to build two
football stadiums and a building for the Football Academy
in Mandalay, in addition to renovating the Thuwanna Youth
Training Center Stadium. Photo: Mizzima
Blatter arrived in Burma at the invitation of Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) Chairman Zaw Zaw.

He arrived on Tuesday and participated in the opening of the Football Academy Training School in Mandalay. He also met with Mandalay Division regional military commander Brigadier General Ye Aung and Mandalay Mayor Brigadier General Phone Zaw Han.

Blatter also observed a ceremony at the Thuwunna Stadium in Rangoon, which is undergoing renovation to increase its seating capacity to 20,000 people.

Later on Wednesday, he visited Naypyidaw and met with President Thein Sein.

MMF spokesman Soe Moe Kyaw said the MMF receives US$ 250,000 annually for the development of football sports in the country. The MFF has submitted a new proposal for building another football training academy in Taunggyi.

FIFA provided funds in 2001 for four special stadium renovation projects and the construction of an office building for the MFF. It also provided funds for building the Mandalay football training centre in 2004.

FIFA also provided funs for renovating Thuwunna Stadium, Soe Moe Kyaw said.

Burmese football fell to the 161st position in the FIFA world football ranking in 2011, from 140th in 2009. The ranking is below other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Cambodia.

Zaw Zaw, who became president of the MFF in 2009, is a business associate of key generals in the junta.

He a won contract for building international standard football fields and stadiums in Naypyidaw, which will be completed before 2013 for the South East Asia SEA Games. He also won the contract for building the football academy training centre in Mandalay.

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