In his address to some 1,000 association delegates, guests and media representatives on Monday, 12 September 2005, the second day of the 55th Ordinary FIFA Congress in Marrakech, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter gave a generally positive overview of the current state of football. However, at the same time, he drew the football family's urgent attention to a number of challenges that FIFA must actively address and conquer. "We should in essence be able to live in a wonderful world thanks to the beautiful game, but some parts of today's football world are sadly not as wonderful as they should be. That is why we must take stock of the problems that face us, analyse them and find solutions," Blatter said.
At the FIFA President's request, the delegates endorsed the creation of the FIFA Task Force for the Good of the Game by 198 votes to 1. It will be composed of experts and representatives from all the key groups of the international football family and will report directly to the FIFA Executive Committee.
In his address, the FIFA President underlined the need for increased solidarity within the game. "The gap between football's rich and poor is widening, as is the imbalance between associations and leagues," Blatter said. "We have to fight this alarming trend. The structure of the football pyramid, with players and clubs forming the base that support the associations and confederations and FIFA at the apex, must be defended for the good of the game."
Blatter also made reference to various challenges that need to be addressed, including the failure to comply with decisions issued by football bodies, recourse to civil courts and interference from political bodies. The FIFA President warned of the dangers of certain football leagues' quest for independence, multiple club ownership and the growing lack of national identity at club level. He also spoke of the threats posed by doping, discrimination, corruption and betting.
At the same time, Blatter appealed to the conscience of the delegates. "The associations must be managed more professionally. It is no longer possible to work on a voluntary basis alone. An association must be run like a business," the FIFA President said.
Blatter drew positive conclusions in relation to FIFA's development programmes. Every year, world football's governing body re-invests somewhere in the region of 70% of its revenue into development activities and the organisation of football tournaments at various levels. "The house of football I spoke of at my first Congress in Los Angeles in 1999 has now come to fruition in the great majority of nations. Thanks to the Goal Programme, every FIFA member association will have its own headquarters and a training centre by the end of 2006."
These efforts are being supplemented by humanitarian initiatives that include partnerships with the United Nations and many of its bodies and agencies, SOS Children's Villages and countless other non-governmental organisations. Together with the International Olympic Committee, FIFA will also give its first ever presentation to the World Economic Forum next year in Davos (Switzerland) in order to highlight the social and cultural importance of football and sport in general.
In its first ever Congress on African soil, FIFA reported on its plans for a worldwide campaign to prevent football-related injuries as well as various other medical initiatives.
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FIFA COMMUNICATIONS DIVISION / Marrakech, 11 September 2005 / 2005-0081-CongressMarrakechPSpeech-E.doc