FIFA grants Palestinian soccer $4.5m
March 28, 2013 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
A Palestinian boy carries the national flag as he makes his way through the debris of the destroyed Palestine Stadium.
- FIFA to grant $4.5m for the development of Palestinian football
- In December FIFA invest $200,000 in the redevelopment of Gaza's Palestine Stadium
- The investment in Palestinian football is of part of FIFA's Goal program
- Palestinian Football Association joined FIFA in 1929
(CNN) -- Against a background of conflict, strife and economic hardship, the Palestinian territories hope a $4.5 million football grant can help reshape the world's view of this troubled region.
On Thursday world soccer's governing body FIFA announced it will help promote the growth of Palestinian football by establishing a youth academy and building artificial pitches in the disputed territory with the investment.
The academy will be in Al-Bireh in the West Bank, while the new pitches will be located in Tulkarem -- also in the West Bank -- and Al-Ram on the outskirts on Jerusalem.
The grant is part of FIFA's Goal program, which aids the development of football in emerging associations.
Read: American soccer star playing for Palestine
Boateng: Racism in football must end
Palestine Stadium in Gaza City was bombed by the Israeli airforce last month during a conflict with the territory's ruling Hamas party.
Soccer stars protest Gaza bombing
Palestinian statehood about identity
The Goal program is already helping with the construction of Palestinian Football Association (PFA) headquarters in Al-Ram.
"Our aim is to change the world's impression of the people of Palestine, highlighting our passion for football and sports in general," PFA technical director Mazen Khatib said in a FIFA statement.
In December, FIFA's finance committee approved a $200,000 investment for the reconstruction of a stadium which was destroyed in Gaza.
Gaza City's Palestine Stadium was bombed by Israeli forces on November 10 during combat operations on the Gaza strip.
The Israelis claimed rockets had been launched from the stadium, which was denied by Hamas' armed wing when contacted by CNN.
"It's quite remarkable the extent to which football has become a key tool to promote social development in Palestine," commented FIFA's director of member associations and development Thierry Regenass.
"It's our intention as FIFA to contribute to the implementation of an efficient football infrastructure, while fostering the general PFA structures and enabling Palestinian people to practice their favorite sport."
PFA president Jibril Rajoub welcomed the finanical boost at what he considers to be an exciting time for football in Palestine.
"PFA is starting a new era with the move to our new headquarters," explained Rajoub.
"We are confident that with the support from FIFA's Performance Program we will be able to properly implement our general strategy and train PFA staff accordingly."
The PFA was established in 1928 and it joined FIFA in 1929. In 2001 it entered the Asian Football Confederation.
Football in the area is set to receive a further boost in June, when Israel hosts the under-21's European Championships.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is proud of the work his organization has done under his stewardship to develop football across the globe, having overseen the first FIFA World Cups in Asia (Japan and South Korea 2002) and Africa (South Africa 2010).
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1339 GMT (2139 HKT)
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
Today's five most popular stories