The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has decided to support FIFA's development activities with Goal and the Financial Assistance Programme in Surinam, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

The details of these joint programmes have still to be defined. In principle, it has been planned that the Royal Dutch Football Association will co-finance the projects along with the FIFA Goal Programme and the Financial Assistance Programme. The contribution made by the Royal Dutch Football Association will allow football facilities in the three countries to be extended and optimised.

In Surinam the project envisages the construction of a technical centre in Paramaribo. On the Netherlands Antilles federation headquarters are to be built in Curacao and a regional office on the island of Bonaire.

"I am very happy to see the Royal Dutch Football Association supporting the three Caribbean countries. It is proof of the solidarity among the members of the FIFA family. I congratulate the President of the Royal Dutch Football Association on this initiative, which may serve as a role model for other associations to do the same", said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.

"Historically, we are very close to Surinam, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba", said Mathieu Sprengers, the President of the Royal Dutch Football Association. "That's why we are pleased to help these national associations. Many of our members are from these countries and a number of our past and present national team players have close bonds with these countries as well."

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter will visit Surinam on 24 September and the Netherlands Antilles on 26 September during his trip to five Caribbean countries, including a visit to the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Trinidad & Tobago from 21 - 30 September (see separate media release).

The FIFA Financial Assistance Programme guarantees USD 1 million to each of the 204 FIFA member associations between 1999 and 2002. In addition to this, the six confederations will each receive USD 10 million during the same period, making an overall total of USD 264 million.

The second major pillar of the FIFA Development Programme is the Goal Programme, which has funds of around CHF 100 million for the same time span. The aim of this programme is to fund projects for financially disadvantaged associations, allowing them to build association headquarters, lay grass or artificial turf pitches, establish technical training centres, or provide other such basic amenities.

To date, 23 Goal projects have either been completed or are nearing completion. In Buenos Aires on 4 July, the Goal Bureau approved a further 21 projects, and an additional 50 projects are currently in the development phase. By the end of 2002, 100 associations will have benefited from the Goal programme.