The FIFA President also spoke of the extraordinary passion which football generates among players and supporters around the continent.
The Congress, which saw Alejandro Domínguez re-elected for a third mandate as CONMEBOL president, took place in Doha on the day after the FIFA Congress and a few hours prior to the Final Draw for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
“I feel at home in South America,” said the FIFA President, who congratulated Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador for qualifying directly for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and Peru for reaching the intercontinental play-off. “This passion and this heart – and I always say this – that exists in South America, is unmatched in the world and we must look after it and protect it together.”
The FIFA President saw some of the development work at first hand during a five-nation trip last year to Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, meaning he has now visited all ten CONMEBOL member associations. “I want to congratulate all of you for the incredible work you do for football. For youth football, women’s, men’s and club football and national team football. To see that FIFA can participate and help a little in this task makes me, as President, very proud,” he said.
Among the projects he referenced were:
• The completion of a new training base for Colombia’s national teams in Barranquilla
• Revival of Chile’s under-21 and under-18 youth competitions after these were halted by the Covid-19 pandemic
• Two key projects in Bolivia that will help with the development of youth and women’s football, plus the building of a technical centre for that country’s national teams
• Rebuilding of football pitches and facilities in Peru after these were destroyed by floods in 2017
• The opening of South America’s first Football for Schools project in Chile
• The development of an artificial pitch for women and youth competitions in Uruguay
• Support for a women’s Football Cup and Futsal League in Argentina