Dear member associations,
Welcome to the August edition of the President’s message.
In the spotlight
I had the pleasure of receiving Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt at the Home of FIFA for a meeting and press event. A friend of football and devoted Manchester United supporter, he was even quoted in 2010 as wanting to swap his sprinting spikes for a pair of football boots!
At the Home of FIFA
Visit of ACF Fiorentina
A few hours before the UEFA Europa League play-off first leg between Grasshopper Club Zurich and ACF Fiorentina on 22 August, I was happy to welcome senior representatives of the Italian Serie A club to the Home of FIFA. Fiorentina owner and President Andrea Della Valle presented me with a Fiorentina replica shirt bearing the No10 and my name, and also the Tuscan club’s Golden Lion.
Cuban Ambassador to Switzerland
I had the pleasure of welcoming Cuba’s Ambassador to Switzerland, María del Pilar Fernández Otero, to the Home of FIFA for a courtesy visit on 29 August.
Sierra Leone Football Association’s newly elected President
Isha Johansen, the Sierra Leone Football Association’s newly elected President and the first woman to hold this position at the SLFA, was at the Home of FIFA to meet with me on 28 August. Her recent election to this role represents another step forward for women in football.
16th Sepp Blatter Football Tournament
The last weekend of August saw the latest edition of the Sepp Blatter Football Tournament, which takes place in my home district of Ulrichen every year. This year’s line-up of teams, which included FC Visp, the FC Chalais women’s team, the FIFA Selection, FIFA men’s and women’s teams and the Swiss Legends, provided a very enjoyable spectacle on the pitch, while special guests such as Franz Beckenbauer and Günter Netzer further lit up the event with their presence. For more information about the tournament, please visit www.sepp-blatter-turnier.ch.
Official Draw for the FIFA U-17 World Cup
Brazil will play Slovakia in the opening match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 on 17 October 2013, while hosts the UAE will face Honduras on the same day. The Official Draw took place at the Fairmont Hotel in Abu Dhabi on 26 August. The tournament will be played in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah from 17 October to 8 November 2013.
Goal projects boost Samoa
Samoa became the latest nation to benefit from FIFA’s Goal Progamme, with the opening of two facilities in the Pacific Island nation. The inauguration of the projects – a Regional Technical Centre in Savai’i and a modern all-weather futsal court at the J.S. Blatter Complex in Tuanaimato – are unique as it is the first time the FIFA Development Office in Oceania has combined two projects into one funding programme.
Afghanistan and Pakistan friendly
An international friendly between Afghanistan and Pakistan was held at Kabul’s AFF Stadium on 20 August 2013, which together with the start of the second edition of the Afghan Premier League (APL) two days later, represented two major milestones in the recent history of Afghan football. The international match between the Asian neighbours was the first such fixture in Afghanistan since 2003, when the host side played Turkmenistan at the Ghazi Stadium.
Integrity in Sport
Planning is under way for Russia to host its first ever FIFA-INTERPOL Integrity in Sport seminar in October or November this year, following a productive meeting between the Football Union of Russia and FIFA’s Security Division at the Home of FIFA. FIFA has partnered with INTERPOL by establishing a ten-year programme targeting match manipulation, which focuses on the pillars of training, education and prevention. Other initiatives include the signing of an integrity declaration by officials, the monitoring of the betting market via FIFA’s subsidiary Early Warning System (EWS) and the setting up of an e-learning ethics tool, an integrity hotline and e-mail address, and a confidential reporting system.
Development course in Mogadishu
After years of unrest and civil war, football in Somalia entered into a new era on 19 August with FIFA’s first development course in Mogadishu since 1986, held at the city’s Banadir Stadium. Thirty-one coaches from all over Somalia joined the historic programme. After undergoing intense practical and theoretical training in the areas of football coaching and organisation, a festival involving over 300 children marked the end of the activities. Coaches are now expected to implement their knowledge at clubs, schools and academies. In addition to grassroots courses and the reconstruction of the Banadir Stadium, FIFA also made a donation of USD $1m in emergency aid for the humanitarian crisis affecting Somalia in August 2011.
Live Your Goals festival in Sakai, Osaka
Players in the U-15 age bracket travelled from far and wide to take part in the latest Live Your Goals festival in Sakai, Osaka in August. Participants came from eight diverse locations including Hokkaido, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Hiroshima, Okayama, Oita and Tokyo. Last year, the Japan Football Association (JFA), supported by FIFA, organised some 20 Live Your Goals festivals across the length and breadth of Japan, ensuring that the legacy from the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup last year remains real. The primary aims of the festivals include encouraging and supporting girls’ teams, creating an environment for girls to play football, stimulating motivation and dreams, and offering an opportunity to meet new friends who love football.
FIFA World Cup Facebook pages launched
FIFA has launched new Facebook pages, expanding the organisation’s social media presence to provide football fans with further opportunities to interact with each other, and FIFA, wherever they are in the world. The new Facebook pages are: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™; FIFA World Cup™; and FIFA. Pages for the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup are also now live, and further Facebook pages will be launched in the coming months for the FIFA Club World Cup as well as for FIFA’s three women’s competitions in 2014 and 2015.
FIFA 11 for Health launched in Brazil
FIFA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports, Education and Health and the Brazilian Football Association (CBF), has started to implement its landmark public health initiative “FIFA 11 for Health” in Brazil. A pilot project has just been launched in Curitiba and the objective is then to take the programme to the 12 Host Cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™.
FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 match schedule unveiled
The official match schedule for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 was unveiled at the City Hall of Montreal on 6 August, with just less than one year to go before the start of the competition. The opening match with hosts Canada will take place at the National Soccer Stadium in Toronto on 5 August 2014. The final two matches, both the match for third place and the final, will take place at the famous Olympic Stadium of Montreal on 24 August. The three-week competition will feature 16 teams and 32 matches from the opener through to the final.
Did you know that...
The world’s best FIFA players battled for the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) Champions Trophy on Wednesday, 21 August, with Alfonso Ramos of Spain winning the first official tournament using FIFA 14.
From 5 to 11 August, followers of @FIWC on Twitter tested their knowledge of the FIFA Interactive World Cup in the hope of claiming one of seven prize packages. On each day of the contest, three tough trivia questions – based on the historic locations, moments and virtual stars of the world’s largest gaming tournament – were posted on the FIWC’s official website. Users were only able to submit one set of answers daily, forcing them to search the virtual football history books carefully in order to hunt down the correct answers and win an entry into the daily prize draw.
In the first 24 hours of ticket sales for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, more than 400,000 fans requested over 2.3m tickets through FIFA.com. Brazilians continue to be at the top of the list, followed by Argentinians, Americans, Chileans and Colombians. FIFA has already received more than 372,000 ticket requests for the opening match in São Paulo, and more than 344,000 for the final at the Maracanã.
The Brazil Local Organising Committee (LOC) announced on 22 August that a second phase to sign up to be a volunteer for the event would begin at an event in Cuiabá on 9 September.
· 7-10 September – 125th IOC Session Buenos Aires
· 9 September to 9 October – International matchdays
· 12 September – Meeting of the FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination
· 13 September – Meeting of the FIFA Ethics Committee
· 18 to 28 September – FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013
For the Game. For the World.
PS: Stay up to date with my visits and thoughts by following me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/seppblatter