Joseph S. Blatter paid a three-day visit to Russia between 22 and 24 January for the CIS and Baltic Cup. This club tournament was first played in 1992, and since then it has represented the solidarity and support between the CIS and Baltic states. During his trip, the FIFA President attended individual and traditional meetings with the participating member associations from FIFA.

The main discussion points centred on the importance of sustainable youth development at a national level, as well as the equal importance of grassroots sport. FIFA is intrinsically involved in these areas thanks to its specific development programmes. Other key issues were the need for appropriate facilities; the protection of the national team in the region as well as issues concerning player transfers.

Blatter: “The dialogue with the member associations has shown once more that the development of football can only be achieved through a strong will, level of initiative and spirit of cooperation from both sides.”

On Sunday, the FIFA President watched the final of the 18th CIS and Baltic Countries Cup between Rubin Kazan (Rus) vs. Aktobe (Kaz).

The President's visit began on Friday, 22 January 2010 with a visit to the Kremlin, where he was granted an audience with the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev. Amongst the discussion points during the one hour meeting was Russia’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup™ in either 2018 or 2022.

In addition to Russia, the following member associations have also confirmed their interest in playing host to FIFA’s flagship competition in either 2018 and/or 2022: Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands, England, Indonesia, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar, Spain and Portugal, and the USA.

Mr. Blatter said: “I was honoured to have been received by the Russian President. He pointed out the immense interest of the Russian population in football and we also found a common language immediately when discussing the social role that football can still play in our society.”