FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was today (Thursday, 27 October 2005) presented with this year's Fischhof Prize, a prestigious award made jointly by the Society for Minorities in Switzerland (GMS) and the Swiss Society against Racism and Anti-Semitism (GRA). The FIFA President was decorated for his many years' work to eradicate racism and discrimination in all forms and for his efforts to focus on these issues throughout FIFA's centennial year.
Delivering the laudatio prior to the presentation of the award, FIFA Executive Committee member and anti-racism ambassador Michel Platini highlighted the numerous initiatives that Joseph Blatter has been involved in during his time at FIFA - first as General Secretary and since 1998 as President - to combat the ills of society (cf. http://www.fifa.com/en/fairplay/fairplay/0,1256,1,00.html ). Platini expressed his "pride and pleasure" at the award because Blatter "is a wholehearted lover of football, of the players and, most importantly, of people - irrespective of their skin colour or religious beliefs."
Read Michel Platini's 'Laudatio'
During a ceremony at the Kongresshaus hall in Zurich, Joseph Blatter received the award jointly with Paul Rechsteiner, a member of the Swiss national assembly and president of the Swiss federation of trade unions. The prize was established by Zurich-born Nanny Fischhof-Barth in memory of her husband, Erich Fischhof, who suffered at the hands of Nazi repression and anti-Semitism during his childhood in Austria before fleeing to Switzerland as a refugee.
The Fischhof Prize is accompanied by a payment of CHF 50,000, which will be split equally between the two recipients. FIFA President Blatter has pledged his CHF 25,000 share to a project to build a mini-football pitch at a school in Schlieren, a borough of Zurich that has a high proportion of foreigners and is actively working to optimise the integration of all ethnic groups into the community.