The FIFA President is heading east from 9-12 October, with Serbia, Montenegro and Georgia on the agenda for a tour of some of the Slavic nations and then a brief trip across the Caucasus. He will be inspecting the facilities of the various national associations and the results of the local Goal projects as well as meeting the respective presidents, prime ministers and football authorities to discuss a number of issues surrounding the beautiful game. The main aim of the trip, however, will be to get a taste of the atmosphere in these football-loving countries.
The first stop is the Serbian capital of Belgrade, on 9 October. The FIFA delegation, headed by Joseph S. Blatter, will meet members of the Serbian football association including its president Tomislav Karadzic and also Ivan Curkovic, the former Saint Etienne goalkeeper who is now president of the Serbian Olympic Committee, and Ivica Dacic, the country's vice-president.
The following day, the FIFA President will visit the Serbian football association's recently renovated premises before enjoying an audience with the President of the Serbian Republic, Boris Tadic. Blatter has a number of points which he wishes to discuss with Tadic, who was re-elected as President in February 2008 and is a committed football fan. "I hope to discuss the '6+5' ruling, for which Serbia could serve as a role model in the future," the FIFA President explained. "For a number of years now, clubs and even national teams have been recruiting an increasing number of foreign players. The consequence is that clubs have been losing their identity, on a local and even a national scale."
Goal projects in Montenegro and Georgia
The second stage of the journey will take in Montenegro, where none other than Dejan Savicevic, former AC Milan star and current president of the Montenegro football association, will receive the FIFA delegation upon their arrival in Podgorica. Blatter will also meet prime minister Milo Dukanovic and the Montenegro president Filip Vujanovic. Afterwards, the delegation will head for the National Technical Centre which was built as part of the Goal II project and will be inaugurated during the visit. Before heading to the airport for the third part of the trip, the delegates will stop off briefly to visit the headquarters of the Montenegro football association which was built thanks to the Goal I project and inaugurated in September 2007.
On 11 October, the party will head to Georgia for the final leg of this eastern European trip. The city of Tiflis will pay host to the inauguration of a Goal II project in the shape of a full-scale Technical Centre, with an artificial pitch which will enable the facilities to operate all year round. Finally, the delegates will be on hand to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier between Georgia and Cyprus at the Boris Paichadze national stadium.
"We are very happy to see that the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Georgia and Cyprus will be played in Tbilisi on Saturday, something which shows that the situation has improved and allows for such international matches to take place once again in Georgia," said the FIFA President.