FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter concluded a two-day visit to Chisinau, Moldova today, during which he met with the country’s football and governmental authorities. It was the third time the FIFA President has visited Moldova in the past ten years.
On the first day, President Blatter had the chance to speak about football in the country with the leadership of the Football Association of Moldova (FAM), led by President Pavel Cebanu and General Secretary Nicolai Cebotari. He commended the FAM for the great development work being done in Moldova, despite the economic challenges facing the country.
The third FIFA Goal project currently being processed for an extension of the technical centre and the fight against match-fixing in football were discussed during the meeting. President Blatter stressed that the fight against match-fixing is a global problem which FIFA takes very seriously, and where football’s world governing body is working closely with INTERPOL and EUROPOL.
During the second day, Blatter was received by the President of the country, Nicolae Timofti, who presented the FIFA President with the Award of the High Level State Distinction “Order of Honour.” Timofti said that he is a fan of football and stressed the excellent relations with the national association. He also mentioned that the government is working with the sports bodies to build a new national stadium in Chisinau.
The FIFA President also had the chance to meet the Prime Minister, Vladimir Filat, who stressed his personal commitment to the fight against match-fixing, which has affected some Moldovan clubs, and his will to make the necessary changes in the laws in order to strengthen the options to combat this problem. Mr. Filat underlined the values of football as an example for society, with respect, discipline and solidarity,and said that it is with solidarity within the football family that match-fixing can best be tackled.
President Blatter agreed wholeheartedly with the Moldovan Prime Minister, saying that, beside the support of the police and the judicial bodies, international solidarity within football is the most crucial point to eradicating match-fixing from the game.He said that FIFA will look to create an international campaign among footballers to promote this concept of solidarity and fair play.
Both meetings served to underline the support to football from the leadership of Moldova. “Football is in good hands here”, said the FIFA President.
Finally, Blatter was received by His Holiness Vladimir (Metropolitan Bishop of Chisinau and all of Moldova), with whom he exchanged views on the parallels between football and religion. The two men had already met in May 2009, when the FIFA President received the “Stephen the Pious, the Great and the Saint” award at the Orthodox Church in Chisinau.