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FIFA delegation visits Gaza Strip

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FIFA delegates arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday (5 January) to help rebuild the football stadiums that were damaged following last year’s Israel Gaza conflict.

An estimated one million dollars (£655,652) is being provided by the world football governing body to help with the rebuilding project in the Palestinian territory.

The FIFA delegate overseeing the development in Asia, David Borja, said: “Once the 20 rebuilding projects are finished, FIFA president Joseph Blatter will come to inaugurate them. [FIFA is] supporting football in the Gaza Strip and its development by bringing help and materials.”

FIFA has also promised another $200,000 (£131,130) to repair the Palestinian stadium in Gaza that was damaged during the 2006 and 2012 bombings.

The Palestinian Football Federation chief, Nafez Okasha, has said that the money donated by FIFA will be channeled to, “replace synthetic pitches in the 20 stadiums.”

Okasha said the inauguration could be by early summer this year.

The Palestinian national team was recognized by FIFA in 1998 and they qualified for the Asian Cup finals due to start in Australia on Thursday (8 January) for the first time last year.

Despite being scheduled to watch a match between two Gazan teams, FIFA delegates were unable to go with the plans after being held up by the Israeli military for hours at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza, said Okasha, reported France24. IBTIMES

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