President's Column: September 2012
© AFP

Dear member associations,
Dear friends,

Welcome to the September edition of the President’s message.

In the spotlight

FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan
4-8 September
At the National Stadium in Tokyo, I witnessed exciting, top-quality football in the final matches of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The USA beat Germany 1-0 to claim the title, while Japan defeated Nigeria 2-1 in the match for third place. In Tokyo, I also met with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who thanked FIFA for its support following last year’s Great East Japan Earthquake. He said that the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup had given the country hope and courage, particularly in the affected areas in Miyagi Prefecture, which hosted six matches.

FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan
21-23 September
In Baku, I attended three matches of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup as well as the superb opening ceremony, which featured performances by Cirque du Soleil and Jennifer Lopez. I also had the honour of renewing my acquaintance with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who is strongly supporting the tournament in his home country. In addition, I officially opened the AIPS Young Reporters Programme and visited a FIFA coaching course for women’s football.

Official Mascot introduced to the world
17 September
FIFA and the Local Organising Committee unveiled the Official Mascot of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, a unique three-banded armadillo indigenous to Brazil. The mascot was launched on Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo’s weekly Fantástico entertainment show, where he was welcomed by the country’s football legend Ronaldo.

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Host Cities announcement
29 September
I very much enjoyed my trip Moscow for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Host Cities announcement. For more information on which cities were chosen, please see click on the link to the right.

On the road

CAF Extraordinary General Assembly
1-3 September
I took part in the CAF Extraordinary General Assembly in Mahe, Seychelles, which was also attended by the country’s president, James A. Michel. In my speech, I thanked delegates for their trust and support of FIFA’s governance reforms and also spoke about “11 for Health”, an important FIFA programme that benefits many African countries.

Visit to Moldova
19-20 September
I was very proud to receive the Order of Honour from President Nicolae Timofti. I held interesting talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Filat, Moldovan FA President Pavel Cebanu and His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir, head of the Moldovan Orthodox Church. In particular, I was impressed by the Moldovan FA’s cooperation with the government to tackle match-fixing.

Other events

Development meeting in India
3-7 September
A FIFA delegation led by Secretary General Jérôme Valcke attended the inauguration of the FIFA development office in New Dehli. Meetings were held with Indian Sports Minister Ajay Maken and All India Football Federation President Praful Patel. FIFA has implemented a wide range of development projects in India over the past years.

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 2012
5 September
After being asked to put forward a nomination for this prestigious award, I was delighted to have my proposal of Iker Casillas and Xavi accepted by the jury. Many congratulations to Iker and Xavi!

“Live Your Goals” festival Azerbaijan
17 September
Baku hosted the last in a series of “Live Your Goals” festivals staged over the past months in the Zagatala, Quba, Sheki and Masalli regions of Azerbaijan. The festival forms part of the legacy of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, and is aimed at increasing both the number of women involved in football and the quality of the women’s game.

At the Home of FIFA

Visit: Colonia Suiza Nueva Helvecia
12 September
It was a pleasure to welcome the Swiss ambassador to Uruguay, Hans-Ruedi Bortis, and a delegation from the Colonia Suiza Nueva Helvecia to Zurich. When I visited Uruguay earlier in the year, I attended the 150th anniversary of the city of Nueva Helvecia and was very well received by the Swiss community living there.

Turkey 2013 Summit
13 September
A Turkish delegation led by FA Honorary President Şenes Erzik, President Yildirim Demirören and General Director of Youth and Sport Mehmet Baykan joined me for a summit organised in Zurich for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013.

Gusti Cup
14 September
This month also saw the latest edition of the Gusti Cup, an annual football tournament featuring local celebrities and well-known figures from business and politics from the city of Zurich.

Seminar for prospective referees for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
24-28 September
The road to Brazil continued with this seminar for the 52 referees from 46 different countries shortlisted for the finals – our 33rd team. After they underwent medical examinations, I gave them an insight into the latest changes concerning referees: the inclusion of goal-line technology, which will be implemented in December at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan.

Draw for the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012
24 September
The draw for this tournament took place in Zurich and produced intriguing quarter-final pairings. The ceremony was attended by Japanese FA President Kuniya Daini, who said that his country was proud to be hosting a second competition in 2012 following the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. For more information on the draw, please click on the link to the right.

FIFA Meeting Week
24-28 September
Various committees met at the Home of FIFA, providing me with the opportunity to meet many different member association presidents.

FIFA Executive Committee Meeting
27-28 September
The FIFA Executive Committee convened at the Home of FIFA. The main points arising include:

- A call for solidarity among the football community to help eradicate match-fixing from the game.
- The road map of the Good Governance reform process was fine-tuned. A working group has been created to consult the 209 member associations and submit proposals regarding the revision of the FIFA Statutes.
- The kick-off times for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ were ratified. See www.FIFA.com for more detailed information.
- The executive proposed the introduction to the FIFA Statutes of an obligation for member associations to hold periodical general assemblies and to adopt their own statutes in conformity with the FIFA Standard Statutes.

In addition, the executive underlined the success of the Olympic Football Tournaments London 2012, in particular in terms of attendance (approx. 2,2 million spectators).

Visitors to the Home of FIFA
It was a pleasure to receive the following guests, among others, at the Home of FIFA:

• The President of the Palestinian FA General Rajoub
• The new President of the Russian Football Union Nikolai Tolstykh
• The new President of the Croatian Football Federation Davor Šuker
• During the meeting week, I had the opportunity to meet many other presidents of member associations.

Condolences

My sincere condolences go to the friends and family of all those who have lost loved ones this month, including:
• Mahmoud El-Gohary, Egypt, footballer and coach
• Victor Brannstrom, Sweden, division two player
• Mohammed Rafiq, Fiji, Development Officer
• Ediz Bahtiyaroglu, Turkey, U-20 player
• Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah, Malaysia, former AFC president and FIFA vice-president
• Erwin Himmelseher, Germany, sports insurance expert
• Sergio Livingstone, Chile, former international footballer
• Abdul Ghafoor Majna, Pakistan, former international footballer and manager
• Victor Vitalis Fannoh Sie, Liberia, former international footballer
• Josef Outry, Switzerland, former president of Grasshoppers Club Zurich
• John Bond, England, former manager of Norwich City and Manchester City

Did you know that…

… The FIFA Fair Play Days celebrated their 16th anniversary this year! Every September, FIFA places a special focus on fair play, a campaign world football’s governing body has strongly advocated since 1988.

… FIFA has warned footballers to avoid food supplements that have not been approved by national food and drug administrations, as these can be contaminated by anabolic steroids and other prohibited substances.

Japan’s former national team captain at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World CupsTM, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, is set for a new challenge as a FIFA Master student. He joined a group of 30 students from 24 countries at the opening in Leicester on 17 September. Tsuneyasu is also an ambassador for this year’s FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.

… FIFA Executive Committee member Nicolás Leoz turned 84 on 10 September. Mohamed Raouraoua turned 65 on 12 September. FIFA Senior Vice-President Julio H. Grondona turned 81 and Şenes Erzik turned 70, both on 18 September. Happy birthday gentlemen!

Looking ahead

• UEFA-FIFA Challenge at Home of FIFA
5 October

• Visits to Iceland and Faroe Islands FAs
8-10 October

• Final matches of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan
13 October

• Visits to Barbados, Dominican Republic, Haitian and Cuban FAs
21-26 October

For the Game. For the World.

PS: Stay up to date with the FIFA President’s visits and thoughts by following him on twitter: http://twitter.com/seppblatter