On Monday 21 January 2008, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and
FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke had the pleasure of welcoming
the former President of the Republic of South Africa, Frederik
Willem de Klerk, and his wife to FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed as President Blatter and De Klerk discussed the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the current political situation in the host country.
"This is a great occasion for us. We are very happy to welcome you here as our guest," the President of football's world governing body told the former South African head of state before emphasising that "FIFA is absolutely convinced that the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa will be a great success".
De Klerk, who was President of the Republic of South Africa between 1989 and 1994 and who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993, was equally confident: "The 2010 World Cup is helping our socio-cultural development. I am very optimistic because everyone in South Africa wants the World Cup to be a success."
The social aspect of football was another point on the agenda. "You are doing magnificent work all over the world," De Klerk said in praise of FIFA's social programmes. "We want to help," President Blatter replied, "Football means hope and brings the peoples of the world together."
After the meeting, the former President of South Africa travelled on to Interlaken, where he is due to be welcomed as a guest speaker on Tuesday at the 6 th International Alpine Symposium on the topic of "Corporate Social Responsibility - The Role of Companies in Society's Fields of Conflict." A day later it will be the FIFA President's turn to take the stage. The title of his speech is "Football for everyone, everyone for football!"