The football action has come thick and fast for FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter in the last week. On Monday 15 June, he travelled to the Free State Stadium to attend Brazil's thrilling 4-3 win over Egypt, before which he held a press conference at the Mangaung/Bloemfontein venue. "I couldn't say everything I'd planned to in my opening speech at Ellis Park because the supporters were too noisy," he pointed out with a smile. "I wanted to add that it was a good day to start this tournament and that there's only one race in the world: the human race. The Confederations Cup is an excellent vehicle for showing that."
On 17 June, it was time to head for Rustenburg and the Royal Bafokeng Stadium for the crucial encounter between South Africa and New Zealand, via the Royal Palace of the King of the Royal Bafokeng Nation for a meeting with His Majesty Leruo Molotlegi. At the press conference before the match, President Blatter touched on the issue of vuvuzelas, the musical instruments that play such a central role in South African football stadiums. "We brought this tournament to Africa, where the ambience and culture are different, and it's good that they are," he said. "[The vuvuzelas] add rhythm and energy and we need to adapt."
The following day, the FIFA President set a course for the Swiss Embassy at the invitation of Ambassador Rudolf Baerfuss, after which Tshwane/Pretoria beckoned for the game between the United States and Brazil. That was followed by a two-day break in preparation for another trip to Mangaung/Bloemfontein on 20 June, this time to see Spain record their 15th consecutive victory and extend their unbeaten run to 35 matches.
For the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, President Blatter made his way to Tshwane/Pretoria to witness Brazil's awesome display against Italy, having met before the game with Brazilian Sports Minister Orlando Silva to make some early headway in preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™.
That match signalled the end of the group stage, but the presidential trek was far from over and the following day Mr Blatter took part in a round table with journalists from some of the planet's leading media outlets. He was keen to underline that, "The World Cup is going to bring so many things to the people of South Africa. In fact, it has already done so by giving job opportunities to a lot of people since preparations began four years ago."
On 23 June, Mr Blatter opened the Football For Hope forum, bringing together various organisations involved in the movement to discuss the contribution football can make to social development through, for example, education and health.
"Football's constant growth has meant that more and more people are involved in the game, either directly or indirectly," he explained during the opening address. "The improvement of living conditions within society brings with it a growth in the notion of social responsibility. FIFA accepts this development in social responsibility but, more than that, we have the will to commit ourselves as much as possible to making our contribution to improving society."
With that, President Blatter was then able to make the most of a less-charged schedule until the FIFA Confederation Cup semi-finals take centre stage on 24 and 25 June.