President's Column: April
© Foto-net

Dear member associations, dear friends,

Welcome to the April edition of the President’s Message, which comes to you in a brand new format.

In the spotlight
Olympic Football Tournaments Draw, 24 April
The draw for the Men’s and Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments in London revealed exciting matches, as reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup™ champions Japan take on Canada in their opening match. In the men’s tournament, the Swiss team, who will be ending a long absence from the Olympics, will face the seeded Mexican team.

A Museum for World Football, 18 April
The FIFA Executive Committee and the Zurich City Council have in principle agreed to a museum at HoF. The plan would be to build an extension to our headquarters in Zurich, of which two-thirds would serve as a museum including 3D animations, interactive games, trophies and much more.

On the road
Strengthening sports medicine, 19 April I was honoured to endow a Chair in Cartilage Regeneration at the ETH Technical University, with whom FIFA has established a research partnership. I took part in an interesting panel discussion on sport and health.

Visit to CBF leadership in Brazil, 21 April
During a private trip to visit Honorary FIFA President João Havelange, who is currently in hospital, I also met with 2014 Local Organising Committee chairman and CBF president José Maria Marin and FIFA Executive Committee member Marco Polo Del Nero.

Awards ceremony in Rome, 23 April
It was an honour for me to receive the Ali della Vittoria (Wings of Victory) award, which is bestowed by Italy’s national amateur league.

Trip to Morocco and Algeria, 30 April – 1 May
I unveiled Goal and Win in Africa with Africa development projects in my travels to Morocco and Algeria, and met with leading dignitaries. 2012 is a special year for Algeria and its football federation, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence and the founding of the FA.

At the Home of FIFA
Sepp Blatter Foundation Board Meeting, 12 April
The board of my foundation decided that its 2011 award would go to the two football pitches in the Swiss villages of Wiler and Kippel, which were severely damaged by storms and are in need of immediate help.

Historic match ball display at HoF, 4 April 2012
Our long-term partner adidas delighted us at the Home of FIFA by unveiling an official match ball display in the lobby. The display contains 14 official match balls, all created by adidas for the FIFA World Cups™, as well as the 2004 FIFA Centennial Ball.

Special visitors to the Home of FIFA
It was a pleasure to receive the following guests at the HoF:
Singapore FA President Zainudin Nordin
Iraqi FA President Al-Obaidi Najeh
Australian FA President Frank Lowy
Johan Cruyff
Liechtenstein FA President Matthias Voigt
Günter Netzer
H.R.H Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein FIFA Vice-President
30 CIES Master students

Condolences
My sincere condolences go to the friends and family of:

Somali Football Federation President Said Mohamed Nur
Somali Olympic Committee President Aden Yabarow Wiish
Former general director of the French Football Federation Gerard Enault
AS Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini
Somali founder and chairman of Kesco Football Club Hajji Abdulle Roble Jusle

Looking ahead
42nd St. Gallen Symposium, 3 May 2012
100-year anniversary of the Canadian Soccer Association, 3-6 May 2012
Visit of the Oman Football Association, 8 May 2012
Visit of the new President of the Tunisian Football Federation, 11 May 2012 
Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup, 16-17 May 2012
62nd FIFA Congress, Budapest, 24-25 May 2012

PS: Stay up to date with the FIFA President’s visits and thoughts by following him on twitter through the link on the right.