Friends again After World Cup 2018 snub, Blatter hands FA 314k cheque for St George's Park
14:13 GMT, 21 November 2012
The relationships between FIFA and the FA, which reached an all-time low after the 2018 World Cup vote debacle, have now improved to the extent that Zurich have awarded 314,000 Goal project funding to St George's Park.
The money will be spent on further developing the state-of-the-art sports science and medical facilities at the National Football Centre outside Burton, which was visited by FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
Blatter, who was greeted at the entrance by FA chairman David Bernstein with a warm embrace, said: 'FIFA is committed to the development of football across the world and the Goal projects are crucial in achieving this mission.
Take Blatt: FIFA have handed a cheque to the FA for St George's Park
'Protecting the health of the players is one of our key objectives and I am therefore very pleased that this project will be dedicated to a sports science and medical centre at such an emblematic location as St George’s Park.'
Bernstein, who made his solo stance against Blatter's unopposed re-election at the FIFA Congress in 2011 following the World Cup vote fall-out, said: 'This is fantastic news and reflects FIFA’s commitments to raising standards within the game around the world and to our improving relationships with FIFA.
'I'd like to thank our colleagues at FIFA for their support of St George's Park as well as those who continue to work so hard on the project here in England.'
The rebuilt partnership between Zurich and Wembley was further strengthened through a Memorandum of Understanding signed jointly by Blatter and Bernstein.
Great expectations: The new facility at Burton is the future English football
This will see the FA share their expertise in various football disciplines, including sports medicine, stadium safety, and women’s football with developing nations.
And SGP will play host to nine football coaches from around the world next month as part of the strategy to re-engage with federations. This initiative will be paid through the FA's new international bursary scheme.
The Goal programme is FIFA's financial assistance programme which was launched in 1999.