Writing on behalf of the international footballing community, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has written to the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Giancarlo Abete, the President of the Italian FA to express his ‘profound sadness' at the news of the violent earthquake and subsequent aftershocks which affected the Italian region of Abruzzo on Monday 6 April.
The death toll has risen to 278 and approximately 28,000 have been left homeless. Italy is preparing itself for a day of national mourning on Good Friday when most of the victims will be buried. Between 3,000 and 10,000 buildings are thought to have been damaged in L'Aquila alone, likely to make the 13th Century city of 70,000 uninhabitable for some time.
"In the name of the international football community, we would like to pass on our sincerest condolences to the people of Italy, particularly the families of the victims," wrote Blatter. "You may rest assured that our thoughts and sympathy are with you all at this time of sadness."
The Italian Football Federation has called off all amateur football in the Abruzzo this week, as well as the Serie B matches scheduled for Friday. The tour of the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy, which was due to arrive soon in the region has also been postponed.
"This is a tragedy that has hit the whole country. The football world is a popular one which must bow it's head as a mark of respect," said Abete. "We share the pain of the families of the victims, Italian football won't fail to show its solidarity with the population affected by this tragedy."