Helen Petermann, who is retiring as FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter's personal assistant, received the FIFA Order of Merit on 11 June 2008 in a presentation attended by the entire staff.
Petermann joined FIFA in 1973 as the assistant of the General Secretary at the time, Dr Helmut Kaser, and was soon involved in her first major event, namely the 1974 FIFA World Cup™. Back then she was one of only 12 FIFA employees.
She began working with Joseph S. Blatter in 1981 when he became General Secretary and counted herself fortunate as a true football fan to be involved with nine FIFA World Cups, various Olympic football and youth tournaments, plus 23 FIFA Congresses. She can also speak all four of FIFA's official languages perfectly, and is now taking her retirement after 35 years of loyal service.
The FIFA President described her as "a colleague whose worth is impossible to calculate. She was always there to help and her incredible knowledge of football combined with her ability to translate this knowledge into expertise was amazing."