The President of Switzerland Pascal Couchepin paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of FIFA on 22 April, exchanging ideas and discussing footballing matters with the FIFA President.

"This is a first. Never before had a President of the Swiss Confederation made a private visit to FIFA," said Joseph S. Blatter as he welcomed his guest. The two men who hail from the Valais region of Switzerland (with Pascal Couchepin born in Martigny) discussed a number of footballing topics and in particular its increasing social role throughout the world.

"Football on every level, not just in major competitions such as the Euro, allows players to develop their individual skills, tactical ability and personal confidence while building up a sense of team sprit," was the main thrust of the message shared by the two Presidents.

Lively and cosmopolitan
The Swiss President was very impressed by the various cultural works on display as well as the new FIFA building designed by Thila Theuss, and commented that the lively and cosmopolitan make-up of FIFA's offices was a reflection of the modern reality of football. "Having this great team comprising 300 highly motivated employees coming from all four corners of the globe is a real plus for the region," he said.

Couchepin, who is Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, paid his respects to local club FC Wittikon who were visiting FIFA headquarters to celebrate their 75th anniversary, before heading back to the Swiss capital of Bern. "As President of the Confederation, I am proud that FIFA is based in Switzerland and has a Swiss President," he added.