Subject: AFP: East Timor football chief appeals for aid

East Timor football chief appeals for aid 05/18/2000 Agence France-Presse

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 (AFP) - East Timor football officials on Thursday appealed for funding to help rebuild sports facilities left devastated in last September's militia violence.

Joao Viegas Carrascalao, president of the East Timor Football Federation (ETFF) and East Timor Sports Confederation, said cash was needed to help reconstruct football in the tiny former Indonesian province.

Cities and towns across East Timor were left in ruins after a week- long orgy of looting and violence by retreating Indonesian-backed militia following the August 30 independence ballot.

Carrascalao said sports facilities did not escape the wave of destruction and looting, with football goalposts destroyed and the ETFF's headquarters reduced to rubble.

"After Black September we were left with nothing. The militia destroyed everything," Carrascalao toldhere after attending the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) congress.

"We desperately need help to try and rebuild football and all sport in East Timor . We have asked FIFA (football's world governing body) for help with funding," Carrascalao added.

East Timor has approximately 30 registered football teams, Carrascalao said, adding that he was uncertain of the exact number of players in the region.

"Although we have 30 teams we have substantially more people playing the sport at all levels," he said.

Carrascalao said the ETFF would apply for full international status as soon as the region was recognised as an independent state by the United Nations.

The AFC welcomed the East Timor bid for membership, and said the body would do all it could to help football in the cash-strapped province.

"We welcome East Timor 's representatives here and we hope to embrace them as members one day. The AFC will do all it can to help," said AFC general secretary Peter Velappan.

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