PM welcomes FIFA President to Laos

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith welcomed the President of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Mr Gianni Infantino, during his visit to Vientiane from October 19-20.

This is Mr Infantino’s first visit to Laos after he was elected president of FIFA in 2016 and re-elected for the 2019-2023 term. 

Mr Thongloun said he was grateful for the longstanding friendly cooperation with FIFA and their support in developing the nation’s football which was the favourite sport of the Lao people.

During their stopover in Vientiane on Saturday, Mr Infantino and FIFA officials visited the National Football Stadium and the Lao Football Federation (LFF) training centre.

President of the LFF, Mr Viphet Sihachakr, and officials welcomed the FIFA delegation as they witnessed a friendly U-15 match between local juniors.

Mr Viphet said the federation’s immediate goals were to develop basic football skills among children in remote areas so all youngsters across the country could participate in the sport.

“We would also like to train A-Level football coaches in each province and establish a provincial training centre as well as organise more national junior and senior tournaments,” he told the visiting delegation. 

The LFF has received ongoing assistance from FIFA to develop local football infrastructure, including the FIFA Goal Project I, which comprised the construction of men’s accommodation and federation offices worth US$300,000 in 2001.

The FIFA Goal Project II consisted of the construction of an office and an indoor futsal stadium worth US$300,000 in 2007, while the FIFA Goal Project III built women’s accommodation worth US$300,000 in 2009.

FIFA Goal Project IV included the construction of buildings worth US$300,000 at the federation’s training centre in Huayhong village, Chanthabouly district in 2012, and the FIFA Challenger Project installed artificial turf at the field worth US$250,000 in 2014.

The FIFA Goal Project V funded the construction of a main office worth US$550,000 in 2015 and the FIFA Goal Project VI installed accommodation for players and coaches at the National Football Stadium worth US$550,000 in 2015. 

FIFA has also assisted the LFF and other federations in the region by organising men’s and women’s regional and international football tournaments from junior to the senior national team level.

Additional assistance has included IT support in player and team registration along with training for referees and coaches. 

The former FIFA President, Mr Joseph Blatter, visited Laos in 2011.