FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter continued his trip in the Middle East with a visit to Palestine today, where he was accompanied by FIFA Vice-President HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and Palestine Football Association (PFA) President Jibril Rajoub.
At the 63rd FIFA Congress held in May, the FIFA President was given the mandate to try to improve the current football situation in Palestine, particularly so that FIFA can implement its mission of developing and promoting the game, in accordance with the FIFA Statutes.
"We will help you. Football will help you. I have taken you in my heart", said the FIFA President to his Palestinian hosts. "I'm in a sport-diplomatic mission to transmit to the Israeli authorities the problems which your football faces, especially when it comes to the movement of players to get in and out of Palestine. I will fight for your cause. Football shall not create borders; football shall bring people together," he added.
The FIFA President was officially received at the Presidential Compound in Ramallah where he held talks with Yasser Abd Raboh, Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) Secretary General.
Earlier in the day, President Blatter had proceeded to the inauguration of three Goal projects including a football turf pitch in Tulkarm, the Joseph Blatter Football Academy in Al Bireh and the new PFA headquarters in Al Ram, near the Al-Ram Stadium. President Blatter had inaugurated the Al Ram stadium in 2008, which FIFA has since contributed to help refurbish the grounds.
A grassroots festival was held at the stadium, while a meeting of the PFA Board was staged for the first time in the new headquarters. The meeting was followed by a press conference.
Blatter was also bestowed with the Honourary Doctorate of the An-Najah National University of Nablus by Dr Rami Hamdallah, Dean of the University and Prime Minister of Palestine, at a ceremony attended by hundreds of enthusiastic students.
Additionally, the “100 years of football in Palestine” book, funded by FIFA, was presented today. The FIFA President will complete his Middle East trip with a visit to Israel starting tomorrow.