On Monday 28 April, FIFA House opened its doors to a contingent of some 50 Spanish football officials. Comprising club presidents from the country's top two divisions, representatives of the autonomous regions' federations and members of the Spanish Football Association (RFEF), their party was in town to visit FIFA's operations base at the invitation of President Blatter.
The motive for spending the day in sunny Zurich was not just to see the premises of world football's governing body, as Angel Maria Villar Llona, Chairman of the RFEF and Vice-President of FIFA explained: "Above all, the purpose of the visit is to learn about all the work FIFA does. And I can assure you that its daily endeavours for the development of football, for the struggle against racism and violence, and for the protection of football as a whole are nothing short of crucial."
With this in mind, Deputy General Secretary Markus Kattner offered a presentation of FIFA's activities, underlining in particular the exponential growth seen since 1998, along with the sound financial health of the institution.
Joseph S. Blatter, for his part, acknowledged that "while the Spanish league boasts great players and exceptionally sucessful clubs, that's not what's most important. The quality of play there is very high in terms of tactics and technique. The Spanish game is all about movement, a very important aspect in modern football that needs to be promoted." At the same time, President Blatter noted that the last FIFA competition hosted by Spain was the FIFA Futsal World Cup back in 1996.
After these words of praise, however, the FIFA President touched on one of the main problems in modern football: the uneven distribution of wealth: "There's a lot of money in the game, most of which always ends up in the coffers of the richest clubs. This allows them to acquire all the best players, some of whom then spend most of the time on the substitute's bench. Since 2005, we've been considering how to combat this phenomenon, as it goes against the whole ethos of sport. And the 6+5 system is what we're proposing to alleviate the problem."
The representatives of Spanish football then benefited from a full guided tour of FIFA's headquarters - opened in 2007- before heading back to their Iberian homeland with a more complete picture of FIFA's myriad activities.