FIFA confirms trophy theft

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Johannesburg - After conflicting media reports, FIFA confirmed on Wednesday that seven replica trophies valued at 2100 Euros (about R21000) each, were stolen from the football body's Johannesburg offices.

But spokesperson Nicolas Maingot however added that no signs of break-ins were uncovered at the store-room where the trophies were kept.

"Indeed the incident did take place - but I have to say there were no signs of break-in and police are investigating the matter," Maingot said.

He also said FIFA will be watching the police investigations following revelations on Tuesday by police head General Bheki Cele that a UK journalist has been held for allegedly masterminding the incident at the Green Point Stadium where British fan Pavlos Joseph trespassed into the English team's dressing room.

Cele said initial investigations and analysis of the CCTV footage had led police to believe that the breach of security at the dressing room was planned and involved the cooperation of a number of individuals.

"That matter is now with the police and we will leave that for now," Maingot said, when asked what FIFA's position on the matter was.

Meanwhile, the world football governing body says it has committed more than $70 million (about R560 million) towards the development of football in Africa since South Africa was announced as a winning bidder in 2004.

The money was being used to develop state-of-the-art football projects and infrastructure across all 53 member states. 53 football turfs were being built across the continent as part of the "win in Africa with Africa" initiative.

"The initiative has helped all the 53 member associations in the continent develop state of the art football projects and improve domestic leagues," said Thierry Regenass, FIFA's Development officer.

He said FIFA was also utilising the funds in the form of training courses and workshops in the areas of health, media and education.

"The win in Africa with Africa has brought about major improvements in our domestic footballs whereby with the introduction of football turfs we have moved from organising three matches a day to 21 matches, it has been a tremendous help to us," said Tanzanian Football Association President Leodear Tenga.