On the morning of Wednesday 22 February, as millions of Argentinians began their day, news emerged of a devastating train accident in Buenos Aires that left 51 people dead and over 600 injured. The tragedy, which led to planned carnival festivities being replaced by two days’ national mourning, deeply saddened FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who sent his condolences to Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

“On behalf of FIFA and the world’s football family, I wish to convey our most sincere condolences and would ask you to extend these to the entire Argentinian population and the families of the dead and injured,” said Blatter in his message, which was also directed at the President of the Argentinian Football Association and Senior Vice-President of FIFA, Julio Grondona.

At 8.33am on 22 February, a passenger train linking the west of Greater Buenos Aires with the city crashed into platform barriers at Once station.

“In circumstances like these it’s very difficult to find adequate words, which is why, by means of these few lines, I wish to bring our message of consolation and friendship. Our thoughts are with you and we share in your profoundest grief,” added Blatter in his letter, which he hoped would “help, in some way, to bring a little peace in these difficult moments”.