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).
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.