President Blatter honoured in Asia

During his official visit to Malaysia and Thailand from 6-7 November, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter attended the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) annual women's football prize-giving event in Kuala Lumpur, before travelling to Bangkok to be presented with an award.

Starting his trip in the Malaysian capital on 6 November, the FIFA President witnessed a very good night for Korea DPR at the AFC gala. Indeed, not only was Ri Kum Suk voted Women's Player of the Year ahead of Japan's Homare Sawa and Australia's Collette McCallum, but her compatriot Ra Un Sim was crowned Women's Youth Player of the Year and Korea DPR were named Team of the Year.

Asked about the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ during his Malaysian stay, President Blatter explained that, "England as a country is a very solid candidate. But nobody should forget China either. They have a lot of stadiums and the race remains open. There is a lot of interest and it will be a good competition." Blatter then added that Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, Mexico and the United States are also ready to present bids.

The FIFA delegation headed to Thailand next, where President Blatter backed the idea of a national league during a press conference in Bangkok, making special mention of the fervour for football within the country. Another subject that came up was the '6+5' principal, which addresses non-eligible players at European clubs. In response, the FIFA President explained that, "if the European Union does not address this problem in its Constitution, then the specificity of sport will be mentioned for the first time in the Treaty to be signed at the end of this year, 2007."

Afterwards, Blatter was presented with an Honorary Doctoral Degree of Business Administration in Sports Management by Chandrakasem Rajabhat University. Recognising the various projects he has developed as well as his dedication to football, the award was not without significance for the FIFA President. In particular, he noted his close affinity with the University's motto: "Strong knowledge, high morality and leading community development". Later, the Governor of Bangkok, Apirak Kosayothin, named President Blatter an honorary citizen of the city.