The FIFA President in Israel
© FIFA.com

Following visits to Jordan and Palestine, the FIFA President visited Israel on the 27 and 28 October. During his time there he took part in the inauguration of the Peres Peace House on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Peres Center for Peace and laid the foundation stone of the future training centre for the national team, which is being funded by the FIFA Goal programme.

On Monday the FIFA President spoke about the social and educative power of football at the Peres Center for Peace as a member of a Sports Panel entitled: ‘Overcoming hurdles through sport.' "Through our Football for Hope movement, we bring people together," he said. "Football definitely has an integration value. It is a school of life. You learn to win, but also to lose".

His words were echoed by Israeli Head of State Shimon Peres in a personal audience in which he declared: "Football is the best introduction to peace."

On Tuesday, Blatter, together with Israel FA President Avi Luzon and General Secretary Ori Shilo, laid down the foundation stone of the future National Team Training Complex in Shefayim. FIFA is contributing financially to the construction of this infrastructure through the Goal programme.

"I want to congratulate the IFA for their professional management," he said. "It would be a wonderful achievement if Israel could qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™", stated the FIFA President at the ceremony, in which he was presented with a special gift from the Israel FA.

The FIFA President also toured the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, before convening a media conference on his fourth and last day visiting Israel and the West Bank.