In February, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said about the earthquake in Haiti, “With a greater understanding of the magnitude of the human toll and widespread destruction, it is clear that the relief and recovery effort will require attention for the coming months and years.”
FIFA took immediate action to directly support the people of Haiti. It has also taken, as indicated by Mr. Blatter’s statement, initial steps in the long-term effort to rebuild an important part of the sporting and cultural landscape in the country, i.e. soccer in that country.
We present a brief update first from FIFA and follow up with a piece that reflects the tremendous fortitude of the Haitian people, as seen through a group of special young women who make up Haiti’s U-17 national team as they try to qualify for FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Their participation on the field, along with FIFA’s off-the-field support, are both helping to build the momentum and inspiration needed to complete this long road to recovery.
“Following on from FIFA’s initial pledge of financial support to Haiti, which was furthered at the FIFA Executive Committee Meeting on 19 March (see media release),* a first tranche of USD 379,000 was sent to the Haiti FA last month which will go towards supporting the re-commencement of football and the domestic football league.
An assessment visit will take place on 26 April in order to define further projects for the reconstruction of football on the island, which will include a FIFA Development Officer, FIFA Development Manager, and a FIFA Technical Director FIFA.”
*The Executive Committee confirmed an allocation of USD 3 million to a special projects fund for Haiti in order to assist in the reconstruction of the football association’s headquarters, technical centres and regional youth facilities. FIFA had already provided immediate emergency aid of USD 250,000 shortly after the earthquake.
Story of Haiti’s Women’s U-17 National Team
March 9, 2010
The headquarters of the Haitian Football Association was one of the countless buildings that failed to withstand the tremors, its collapse causing the death of 32 people. For the survivors, however, football has offered hope. Braving the conditions, a group of FA workers somehow brought the team together before travelling to the Dominican Republic on 24 February. Thanks to the generosity of the Dominican FA, who have made their facilities available to their neighbours in need, the Haiti squad has been able to train for the regional finals.
“Haiti’s participation in the event in the most trying of circumstances is a testament to the will and commitment of the Haitian Football Association, its players and coaches, and the people of Haiti themselves,” commented CONCACAF President Jack Warner. “We hail their perseverance and we hope to work with them to rebuild their football and the country.”
After the competition the team will face an uncertain future and are not even sure when they will be able to return home. “We are worried they’ll end up on the street again,” continues Berry. “They don’t even have a bed to go back to and they won’t know where their next meal will be coming from.”
There is still much work to be done to get Haiti back on its feet again, and its people need all the support they can get from the international community to restore even a semblance of normality to their lives.