FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter concluded his maiden two-day visit to Bhutan on Wednesday after meeting with the King and Prime Minister, as well as inaugurating football pitches next to the national stadium as part of the Goal III and IV projects.
Bhutan became a member of FIFA in 2000 and the FIFA President’s first impressions of the country were positive: “It was time for me to come here and it looks very similar to Switzerland,” he said.
Commenting later via his twitter account, @SeppBlatter he opined: “Bhutan is a world unto itself, enviably calm. The development index used here is not the Gross National Product but Gross National Happiness.”
After being received by the King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel on Tuesday, the FIFA President met with the country’s sports’ representative, Prince Jigyel and Prime Minister Jigme Yoezer Thinley.
Speaking at a press conference following the meetings, Blatter said: “The future of football is in Asia where two-thirds of the world’s population lives. It’s not only an economic market but it can be a football market."
The FIFA President also stressed that football has important educational and social aspects for young people in Bhutan. “When you’re playing football, you’re in good condition; and when you entertain people, it’s a healthy society,” he said. “What’s important is not just learning how to win, but also how to lose – and that’s the essence of team sports.”
On Thursday 8 March, the FIFA President inaugurated football pitches belonging to the Bhutan Football Federation next to the National Stadium in the presence of Prince Jigyel in a special groundbreaking ceremony.
The FIFA President continues his Asian visit and will make his way to Nepal and India over the next few days.