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The funds will be used to help rebuild damaged football infrastructure and facilities in the Southeast Asian nation, which was badly hit by Typhoon Haiyan

Fifa has recently concluded a three-day assessment of Tacloban, a region in the eastern island of Leyte in Philippines, which was one of the worst-hit areas when Typhoon Haiyan struck last November.

Part of that assessment's aim was to determine the best ways to help the Southeast Asian nation return to footballing activities, with Fifa's Finance Committee having dispensed a special grant of USD1million to Philippines last December.

The funds will be used to help rebuild damaged football infrastructure and facilities, with the Leyte Football Association (FA), which is highly active, keen to bring football back to locals' lives as part of the rehabilitation and normalisation process.

Many of the football pitches are currently used as grounds for makeshift classrooms or refugee tents, with discussions underway on utilising part of the funds for a Training City Project near the city centre, according to Fifa.com.

“This location would allow easy access to all the children from Tacloban and surroundings but could also serve as a regional centre for the whole affected area of Eastern Visayas (Leyte and Samar islands),” Dan Palami, President of the Leyte FA, stated.

“As it would include an artificial turf, it could serve also as the future home ground for local teams, a venue for grassroots festivals and potentially a training centre for national team camps.”

At a meeting in Manila with representatives of the Philippines Football Federation, Fifa agreed to provide large quantities of football material for use in grassroots activities in the affected areas.

“In the coming months we’ll work hand in hand with the Philippine Football Federation to contribute to the normalisation of football activities in the most affected areas,” Thierry Regenass, Fifa Director of Development & Member Associations, said.

“We also look forward to the implementation of activities with UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), since we both aim at using football as a tool to promote development in the Philippines."

Another way in which the UNDP helped the Philippines was through the annual Match Against Poverty, led by Goodwill Ambassadors Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo.

In the 11th edition of the game, held on Tuesday in Bern, Switzerland, a Ronaldo, Zidane & Friends team faced off against the BSC Young Boys & Friends side. Fellow ambassador and Brazil female football legend Marta Vieira da Silva also joined in, with 21,000 people turning up to show their support.

Two-thirds of the match proceeds went to bolstering recovery efforts, as the stars beat the local side 8-6 in an entertaining game.

"“I am very happy to be in a position to be able to contribute to the important cause championed by UNDP,” Ronaldo said at a press conference an hour before the match.  “All three of us footballers up here on the podium grew up in poverty.  If our lives and our game can contribute to its reduction then the beautiful game will truly be beautiful.”

“Although UNDP scored 8 and the Bern team Young Boys scored 6, it was really the Philippines that scored 14 because both sides were playing for them,” UNDP partnerships manager Aziyade Poltier, who organises the Match Against Poverty each year, said.

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