Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Northern Mariana Islands FA receives EAFF funds

The East Asian Football Federation has donated $50,000 to the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association to help fund their development program. EAFF finance committee chairman Richard Lai told a hand-over cermony that neighbouring Guam received the same assistance when it was just starting to become an EAFF member and accredited by FIFA. “When football was starting on Guam 90 percent of the players were foreign born made up mostly of Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans, while five to 10 percent were locals. Thirty years have passed now and 90 percent of our players are Chamorro,” Lai said.

Over past five years the Guam Football Association has received over US$2 million in international grants from FIFA, Japan Football Association and the EAFF, Jon Perez reported for the Saipan Tribune. “The money was used to build a 9,000-square-foot facility, which will house the GFA's [executive] offices and classrooms to be use for clinic and other training sessions,” Lai explained, adding that “once the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands gets accepted as a FIFA member it entitles them to grants ... One day I want to see the local kids in the CNMI get the same benefits of the kids in Guam.”

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