FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has written to the newly elected President of Hungary, Pal Schmitt, in order to extend his ‘sincerest congratulations.’
Schmitt, who was elected to the position on Tuesday 29 June, has previously been speaker of the Hungarian Parliament. He received 263 out of the possible 386 votes, with his closest challenger, Andras Balogh receiving 59. The former diplomat and Olympic fencing champion officially takes office on Friday (6 August).
In a letter addressed to ‘dear friend Pal’, Blatter expressed confidence that his fellow President would be a fine figurehead for the republic.
“I would like to extend to you my sincerest congratulations for this achievement as well as my best wishes of success for the years to come,” wrote the FIFA President.
“Your experience as a Hungarian politician in general and as a member of the European Parliament, as the vice-chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education as well as Vice President of the European Parliament in particular undoubtedly constitute a huge asset to tackle this exciting but complex mission.
“I am convinced that you will conquer the new challenges with the same determination, strength and motivation as you did in the past, also as an Olympic Athlete and a Member of the IOC.”
Back in October 2009, the two men communicated closely at the Conference on the Specificity and Autonomy of Sport, which took place at the Hungarian Parliament. There they discussed the situation of sport within the European Union and possible common steps to protect the values of sport in general and football in particular.
At the meeting they agreed upon the need to recognise and respect the specific characteristics of sport in Europe in line with Article 165 of the Lisbon Treaty and on the basis of the document presented in 2008 to the European authorities by the Olympic and Sport Movement under the title of 'Position of the Olympic and Sports Movement on the Specificity and Autonomy of Sport.’
Indeed, at that conference, Schmitt, accepted the role of '6+5 ambassador' to the European Parliament in order to promote and defend the rule intended to protect national teams, the training of young players, training clubs as well as the national identity of football clubs.
In the letter, the FIFA President also extended an invitation to meet with Schmitt in the near future “in order to discuss the role and the values of our game both for society and as well as to the generations to come.”