Blatter visits Kazakhstan

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter is on an official visit to eastern Europe between 29 April and 3 May and the first stop on the tour was Kazakhstan, where he was welcomed by the President of the Republic, Nursultan Abish-uly Nazarbayev, at his private residence. After being awarded the "Dostik" Order, the highest honour that a non-Kazakhstani national can receive, the President of world football's governing body said that he was "very honoured and happy to receive such a distinction."

The two men subsequently enjoyed a very amicable discussion, the Kazakh President being a noted sports fan. The subjects up for discussion were, however, of a serious nature. Each man gave his full backing to fighting corruption in sport and particularly football, as well as promoting the development of youth football. The issue of foreign players and coaches within a country's national championship was also touched upon.

Making progress
For his part, President Nursultan Abish-uly Nazarbayev stressed that "the infrastructure in Kazakhstan is progressing very quickly and a new stadium is soon to be unveiled in Astana". The FIFA President also made a point of mentioning the "progress made by Kazakh football, particularly at youth level, which proves the effectiveness of the work carried out in the technical and administrative fields."

Following on from this meeting, Joseph S. Blatter held a joint press conference alongside the President of the Kazakhstan Football Association, Adilbek Dzhaksybekov, during which subjects including transfer control, the '6+5' rule and the Premier League were discussed. The FIFA President explained that he was "delighted to find that under the aegis of the new President of the [Kazakhstan Football] Association, the problems of racism, doping and corruption are taken seriously. From now on your football is clean and fair. That's a good thing because sport must bear the message of integration, discipline and respect."

In the evening, the FIFA delegation were due to attend the President's Cup meeting between Kazakh side Semei-93 and Russian outfit Rubin Kazan, who currently lie third in the Russian Premier League.

The next stop for the delegation is Moldova.