FIFA President Gianni Infantino meets with government officials and FFB management in Belize


August 31, 2022

FIFA President Gianni Infantino meets with government officials and FFB management in Belize

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is in Belize. He has been in the country since Tuesday. Today, he appealed to government officials, as well as staff from the Belize Football Federation. It is the first time in recent history that a FIFA President has visited the country. Infantino was greeted by children and their coaches on the football pitch during his visit to the FFB stadium. President Infantino and Sergio Chuc, president of the Belize Football Federation, held a press briefing at the venue. Paul Lopez of News Five was there and filed the following report.

Isani Cayetano, Report

FIFA President Gianni Infantino was in Belmopan today where he met Belize Governor General Froyla Tzalam, Acting Prime Minister Cordel Hyde and Belize Football Federation staff.

Gianni Infantino

Gianni Infantino, FIFA President

“It was a great pleasure for me to be here and thank you for being here too, because it is important that we promote and talk about the fantastic work that is being done here in Belize by President Sergio and his entire team at the federation with the help and support from the government, as well as the presence of the minister here as well.

In 2020, the Football Federation of Belize inaugurated the start of construction work for the modernization of its Belmopan stadium. The upgrade was made possible by a two million dollar investment from the international football governing body through its FIFA Forward program. Today, President Infantino hailed the progress made at the stadium.

Gianni Infantino

“I have visited in recent years more than one hundred and sixty countries around the world and I can tell you that this infrastructure here is already much better than any other place in the world. So thank you very much and we continue to work on this path and we will invest even more.

Sergio Chuck

Sergio Chuc, president of the FFB

“Right now, the focus is on this one. We’ve completed three shifts, because we need the parking lot, we need the hangar, we need the VIP, and we still need another training ground for the platoon. In Central America, all national teams play on grass. We cannot have the national team play strictly on a synthetic pitch and then go and play on a grass pitch in Salvador. So we have to fix our pitches that we have here. So we have a bit more work to complete the center completely, and then we’re looking at other projects in other parts of the country, where the investment will go the furthest, maybe Belize City where that’s the area more populated.

And, most recently, Belize was one of fourteen nations selected from more than two hundred countries to adopt the FIFA Football for Schools programme. President Infantino has acknowledged that the sport of football is overdeveloped in some parts of the world. In countries like Belize, for example, there is a greater need for player development before national teams can compete at higher levels like the World Cup.

Gianni Infantino

“We believe that in a country like Belize, there is incredible talent that is naturally here. What we need to focus on is how we can help Belizean football bring that talent together, scout it, to bring it together, to develop it, so that you can have sporting results, but at the same time in any case show the public and the people the exemplary function of football. So, with the federation, we analyze all this, we develop strategies on how to spot young talent and we help build it, we make the funds available and they build the infrastructure.

President Gianni Infantino has confirmed he will seek re-election in 2023. Before his stopover in Belize, he visited neighboring Guatemala and several other Central American countries. His tour is seen by some as a campaign strategy to gain support for his candidacy. Well, President Infantino need not worry about Belize’s position as FFB President Sergio Chuc publicly declared his support today.

Sergio Chuck

“Let me say that he doesn’t have to worry about Belize, because when I took over at the first summit we had in Hong Kong, the panel was there to discuss the funds that would be best suited to developing countries. Initially, FIFA proposed operational funds to be half a million dollars and project funds to be three-quarters of a million dollars. We sat in the group and discussed it and said that the operation was more important. So we lobbied for a higher operating fund. The committee looked at it, took our recommendation from Belize. Then they reversed it and the operating funds became greater than the project funds. So it’s about listening to us and developing the countries that need it the most. So, I have absolutely no reservations in pledging my support again.

Gianni Infantino

“Even if I wouldn’t have come?”

Sergio Chuck

“Well you know I already sent you the nomination letter. I already nominated him because I believe in what he does and he’s been more than good to us. And I’m glad he be satisfied with how we use the funds.

Reporting for News Five, I’m Paul Lopez.

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