FIFA is no longer merely an institution that runs our sport. It has now taken on a social, cultural, political and sporting dimension in the struggle to educate children and defeat poverty. At the same time it has also become a powerful economic phenomenon.
The 208 national associations affiliated to FIFA represent 260 million people actively connected to the game, including players, coaches and administrators. Based on the reasonable assumption that each of them has three or four family members or friends with an interest in the game, that figure rises to one billion, a seventh of the Earth's population.
Football can also move mountains. The Iraqi FA continued to play throughout the war even though no national teams went to Baghdad to play, until very recently that is. We also organised a similar match between Palestine and Jordan in Ramallah in October 2008, which highlights the power of football and the fact that it is recognised by all politicians.
The football family has a major responsibility and must set an example. We are in the process of testing a computer program called Transfer Matching System. Thanks to this software, all international transfers will be entered on FIFA's computer systems and made completely transparent.
When the system becomes operational after the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ we will be able to monitor every single transfer, check supply and demand, and prevent illegal practices such as players signing contracts with two different clubs at the same time.
Another crucial area is the fight against racism. To my mind, fining the clubs "responsible" does not work. They need to be docked points in the league and in European competitions and kicked out altogether if need be. Such punishment is actually envisaged in our Disciplinary Code and without it we cannot hope to eradicate this problem.
Additionally, the FIFA Confederations Cup in Africa has allowed us to identify the areas in which we need to make improvements, particularly in transport and accommodation.
South Africa is expecting 450,000 visitors to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and it needs to do some fine tuning in these two key areas, which are all the more important because it's as big as France and Spain put together and covers an area of one million square kilometres. Its telecommunications are first class but there is still work to be done. Nevertheless, South Africa will be ready.