Concacaf President Victor Montagliani, accompanied FIFA President Gianni Infantino on a two-day visit to Panama that started on Friday, March 16. The Confederation’s General Secretary Philippe Moggio also joined the delegation during the visit that included meetings with officials from UNCAF and the Federacion Panameña de Fútbol (FEPAFUT). The trip concluded with an audience with the President of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela.
“We are honored to have the presence of President Infantino in our region, especially in Panama, where you can feel the excitement of the Federation and fans for their national team’s debut in the upcoming FIFA World Cup,” said President Montagliani. “This visit demonstrates the unity of the football family and FIFA’s support to the development of our game throughout UNCAF as well as the Concacaf region. It also provides an opportunity to discuss our progress and further avenues to grow the sport at all levels.”
Speaking to members of the media, Infantino expressed his gratitude to UNCAF for their support to his presidency and the progress of football within the region: “It is a pleasure to be here in Panama, congratulations on your qualification for the FIFA World Cup. I will also like to congratulate Costa Rica! Central America is a footballing region, football is life. The work that Panama and UNCAF are doing is very important for the development of the game. For me, it is fundamental to work hand in hand with FEPAFUT, UNCAF, and the Concacaf President to grow the sport. We are investing in women’s and men’s football, and futsal.”
President Montagliani praised Panama, highlighting that Concacaf is on the right path to develop the game.
“I am very excited to be in Panama, in the UNCAF region, accompanied by President Infantino, FEPAFUT President Pedro Chaluja, and officials from our Member Associations in Central America. These are good times for Concacaf, last week we announced our Nations League and the new brand. Football is first, this is a country and a region of football. It is an inspiration not only for our Confederation but around the world. Congratulations on qualifying for the World Cup. The 41 members of our Concacaf family are supporting Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama in their participation at the tournament next summer.”
FIFA’s leader discussed the approval of using Video Assistant Referees (VARs) at the World Cup in Russia. The decision was taken by the FIFA Council, at a meeting held in Bogota, Colombia, on Friday.
“The approval of VAR is a very important step for football. We are implementing VAR with the objective of helping referees to correct important errors. With VAR we are assisting officials in performing a very difficult job… We have seen the benefits of this technology through a number of experiments.”
Infantino also addressed his expectation on the impact of the next FIFA World Cup as well as the governing body investment in Member Associations.
“We need to focus on football and think on all the people that love football. I wish the game unites us, we need to use it as a platform for unity… I believe the World Cup in Russia will have a positive impact at a global level,” said Infantino, adding that FIFA has multiplied its annual investment in each of its member nations.