Dear friends of football,
The outstanding events of the year just gone by highlighted once again the social and cultural dimension of football. The first FIFA World Cup™ on African soil, which saw Spain emerge as new world champions, and the prestigious FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, at which an African team reached the final for the first time, are just two examples of the universal power of our sport. At FIFA, we will therefore continue to pursue our goal of constantly developing football all over the world. The awarding of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to Russia and the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar means that our flagship tournament is charting new territories and, as FIFA President, it gives me great joy to see the FIFA World Cup spread to new geographical regions and cultures such as Eastern Europe and the Arabic world, thus furthering football’s development all over the world.
After such an eventful and exciting year, it is now time to focus our attention and efforts on the future. Football will continue to be at the core of our activities in 2011. The first highlight of the year will be the inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich on 10 January 2011.
There will also be plenty of action at confederation level, including the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar from 7 January, the 11th edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA and the Copa America in Argentina. I am also looking forward to the second edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Sudan starting on 4 February, exclusively featuring players who play club football in their domestic leagues. The FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Germany will undoubtedly be a highlight in the 2011 football calendar, followed by the Preliminary Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil in Rio de Janeiro at the end of July.
In addition to the competitions, another key focus of 2011 will be football leadership. Before the FIFA presidential election at the FIFA Congress on 1 June 2011, I will attend the congresses of all six confederations. I look forward to meeting the representatives of the member associations there in person, addressing their concerns and, together, setting a strategic course for the future so that FIFA can support its members in an even more targeted and needs-based manner.
FIFA’s and my personal mission for 2011 and the years that follow is clear: to show that 'football is more than just a game'. Through its social and cultural dimension, football connects people. Football is a school of life.
I wish you all health and happiness in this new footballing year and I hope that you will support me in my mission. I thank you for your trust and confidence.
Joseph S. Blatter.