FIFA gives $1 million aid for Philippines football

FIFA will give a special $1 million grant to help rebuild football facilities damaged in the Philippines' deadliest typhoon, the national football association said on Friday.

"We are deeply moved by this generous support of FIFA that shows their solidarity and sympathy with our nation," the Philippine Football Federation's president Mariano Araneta said.

"We are looking at rehabilitating and constructing football facilities in provinces severely hit by Super Typhoon (Haiyan)," the association's general secretary Edwin Gastanes said in a statement.

Haiyan pummelled nearly 200 towns and cities across the central Philippines on November 8, killing at least 6,009 people and leaving 1,779 others missing according to the official count, making it the country's deadliest typhoon on record.

The Philippine Football Federation said it was drawing up a list of damaged football infrastructure and facilities in the region to assess where the money should go.

Football has been gaining popularity in recent years in the Philippines, a former US colony where basketball is the number-one sport.

Its higher domestic profile has been attributed to the relative success of the Filipino national team, called Azkals (feral dogs), which went up to 133rd in the FIFA rankomgs last month, up 26 places from two years ago.

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