Oman has long been enthusiastic about football, but the excitement for the game reached fever pitch in capital city Muscat on 9 December 2010. The reason for the excitement was a visit by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter to Omani Football Association headquarters, where he was received by the President of the Omani FA, Khalid Bin Hamad Al-Busaidi and its General Secretary, Saleh Abdullah Al Farsi.
"It is a great honour for us to welcome the FIFA President. We’re very proud to be hosting this visit,” commented Al-Busaidi, who then joined Blatter to officially declare open an artificial turf pitch constructed adjacent to the association HQ.
The recently-completed pitch, financed with support from the Goal Project and the FIFA Financial Assistance Programme (FAP), meets the highest applicable quality standard, namely FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR. This guarantees outstanding training conditions all year round.
"We’re extremely grateful to FIFA for their generous support in this wonderful project. I would like to offer my thanks on behalf of the entire country. This pitch will be of inestimable value in the ongoing development of the sport in Oman,” Al-Busaidi said in his address at the opening ceremony.
"I’m delighted and proud to be here today, officially opening this artificial turf pitch. FIFA has long attached great value to the development of football. We hope this pitch will make a decisive contribution towards the continuation of the outstanding youth development work in Oman,” said FIFA President Blatter, who then observed a match on the new pitch between two mixed junior teams, gaining a positive impression of the talent and enthusiasm of the young players. Oman national coach Claude Le Roy was among the interested spectators.
The FIFA President then proceeded to Al Musana'a Sports City, venue for the 2nd Asian Beach Games, where he viewed the extensive and impressive facility, before watching the opening match of the Beach Soccer tournament between Qatar and Uzbekistan. "I must congratulate the organisers of these games. They have attracted competitors from all over Asia to this wonderful festival of sport,” Blatter observed.
The FIFA President subsequently took questions from a large number of media representatives at a news conference. An eventful day in the cause of football was rounded off by a meeting with Oman Sports Minister Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy.