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FIFA Backs Franco-British Initiative

FIFA has lent its full support to plans outlined by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to provide school places for 16 million children in Africa in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
FIFA intends to contribute the wealth of experience gained from its own schemes, such as Football for Hope, Win in Africa with Africa and 20 Centres for 2010, to drive the initiative and ensure its future success.
The two leaders announced their intentions during the final press conference of Sarkozy’s two-day state visit to the UK at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London, where they discussed the initiative with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and FA Chairman Lord Triesman. Both leaders are united in the aim to provide the places before the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Major sporting events such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, which is being held in Africa for the first time, provide huge international momentum to use sport as a global force for change.
World football’s governing body is therefore doing everything in its power to make a positive difference using its expertise and internal structures. “FIFA fully supports this initiative,” underlined Blatter. “FIFA’s expertise and the platform of the FIFA World Cup are the perfect opportunity to make people’s lives better. FIFA is dedicated to bringing about that change for the good of the world while helping to promote grassroots football and football in schools.”
“One of the great challenges facing Africa is that 33 million children are not going to school this morning,” added Sarkozy. “There are no schools for them to go to and no teachers to teach them.” Speaking on the pitch ahead of the press conference, Mr Brown said that the two governments would be providing assistance to charities and aid organisations to enable them to build new schools and train teachers. “The President of France and I have agreed that we will finance eight million children each, thereby enabling 16 million children to go to school as a result of the funding we’re making available by the time the World Cup gets to South Africa in 2010.” Brown added: “This will afford children opportunities which are currently denied them. We will train teachers for the future and build schools in partnership with various African governments and charities and other aid organisations who want to help.”