FIFA President Blatter completes trip to Middle East
© Getty Images

FIFA President Blatter has recently completed a three-day tour through the Middle East beginning with a visit to Jordan where he met with FIFA vice-president H.R.H. Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein and the Jordan FA (JFA) Board.

The JFA made a detailed presentation on the operations planned for the next FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup which the country will host in 2016. “This event will have an impact not only in Jordan but also in the world,” said FIFA President Blatter at a press conference in Amman.

Accompanied by H.R.H. Prince Ali, the FIFA President then proceeded to Palestine. After having paid his respects to Yasser Arafat at the Mausoleum of the late Palestinian leader, FIFA President Blatter, together with Palestine FA (PFA) Chairman Jibril Rajoub, met the President of Palestine, H.E. Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah. This meeting formed part of the mandate given by the FIFA Congress to the FIFA President to try to improve the situation of football in Palestine, in particular so that FIFA can implement its mission of developing and promoting the game, in accordance with the FIFA Statutes.

While in Ramallah, the FIFA President was bestowed with the 'Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity' at a ceremony attended by Palestine’s Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

The next day, FIFA President Blatter departed for Israel, where he held talks with a delegation of the Israel Football Association (IFA) headed by its Chairman Avi Luzon, who then accompanied him for a meeting, also held within the framework of the Congress mandate, with the Prime Minister of Israel, H.E. Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Following the mandate I’ve received from the Congress and after mechanisms have been put in place to facilitate the movement of football representatives and equipment into, out of and within Palestine, it was important for me to go back to Israel and Palestine, meet the political and football authorities and thus get first-hand information.

“In particular, I had fruitful talks with H.E. Mahmoud Abbas and H.E. Benjamin Netanyahu. While there is still some work to do, there are some results, which we can build on. I’m confident football will help building bridges between people of Palestine and Israel,” stated FIFA President Blatter at the conclusion of his visit.

A report on the situation will be given at the upcoming FIFA Congress on 11 June in Sao Paulo, Brazil.