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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

FIFA, EU to sign Africa aid pact for 2010 Finals

BRUSSELS, July 7 (Reuters) - FIFA and the European Commission have agreed to use the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as a springboard to push aid programmes for the continent, a Commission spokesman said on Friday.

'The impact of soccer in Africa is such that it can help to put in place education programmes through soccer, structure local communities ... or help raise awareness of AIDS,' said Amadeu Altafaj.

Other projects could involve children's rights, health, anti-racism, or inter-cultural dialogue in any African country.

The EU calls itself the world's major aid donor. Its figures show the Commission and EU member countries gave $43.3 billion in 2004, more than half of all international aid.

The agreement between the two bodies will be formally signed on Sunday, the last day of this year's Germany-based World Cup, before South Africa in 2010 becomes the first African country to host the tournament.

The agreement leaves open how much money the EU's executive arm and the international football federation will allocate to the projects.