President's Column: October 2012
© Foto-net

Dear member associations,
Dear friends,

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

In the spotlight

Final matches of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan
13 October
France claimed the crown after defeating Korea DPR 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the final at Baku’s Tofig Bahramov Stadium in Azerbaijan. Asian teams had won both previous editions of this tournament, so France’s victory marked a changing of the guard in FIFA U-17 women’s football. In the match for third place, Ghana defeated Germany 1-0.

On the road

Two-day trip to Iceland
8-9 October
In Iceland, I met FA President Geir Thorsteinsson, the Minister of Education, Science and Culture Katrin Jakobsdóttir and the President of the Republic Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. I visited the FA’s headquarters and technical centre, built in 2007 as part of the FIFA Goal Programme, as well as the Korinn and Fifan indoor pitches. I was really impressed by the development of the sport in the country and foresee a bright future for Icelandic football!

My first visit to the Faroe Islands
10 October
I tremendously enjoyed my first-ever visit to the Faroe Islands where I inaugurated a Goal project – a football turf pitch in the capital city Tórshavn. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Kaj Leo Johannesen, a former international goalkeeper capped seven times by his country, as well as the Mayor of Tórshavn Hedin Mortensen and FA President Christian F. Andreasen. It is remarkable what such a small country has achieved in football – ten per cent of the population are registered football players!

At the Home of FIFA

6th UEFA-FIFA Challenge
5 October
I am very proud to announce that our women’s football team and active men’s team prevailed, while our seniors drew at an exciting UEFA-FIFA Challenge 2012 at the Home of FIFA. Congratulations!

Norwegian delegation at FIFA
11 October
One day before the FIFA World Cup Group E qualifier between Switzerland and Norway in Berne, Norwegian FA President Yngve Hallén headed a delegation on a visit to the Home of FIFA comprising members of the country’s Olympic Committee, the Ministry for Commerce and the Nobel Peace Centre. The group also included two former national players who represented Norway at the 1994 FIFA World Cup: Rune Bratseth and Jan-Åge Fjørtoft.

Team Information Meeting with Ronaldo
11 October
It was a pleasure to have Ronaldo attending our Team Information Meeting at the Home of FIFA in his role as a member of the Management Board of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee Brazil. Ronaldo, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke and LOC Operations Director Ricardo Trade gave us an update on the current status of the preparations in Brazil.

French film legend Depardieu visits FIFA
19 October
It was a great pleasure for me to receive Gérard Depardieu, a giant of world cinema and a passionate football supporter, at the Home of FIFA. The French actor played as a goalkeeper as a young boy, and has followed the ups and downs of Auxerre from the stands at the Abbé Deschamps Stadium with his friend and club chairman Gérard Bourgoin. Depardieu gave FIFA.com’s editors an exclusive interview that you can read on our website www.FIFA.com

Yingli Solar Customer Conference 2012
16 October
I was happy to open the Yingli Solar Customer Conference that took place at the Home of FIFA. Yingli, a 2014 FIFA World Cup sponsor, has taken significant steps in the drive to make the event in Brazil the most environmentally friendly of all time. Yingli is also providing state-of-the-art solar technology for the 20 Football for Hope Centres in Africa.

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

• The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Kim Jong-il
• President of the Spanish National Sports Council Miguel Cardenal
• Honorary IOC Member and SportAccord President Hein Verbruggen
• IOC Executive Board member and ASOIF and FISA President Denis Oswald
• ITF President and ASOIF President-elect Francesco Ricci Bitti
• Football for Hope Ambassador Princess Inaara the Begum Aga Khan
• Officials and players of the Kristiansand Football Club, Norway.

Other events

IFAB Annual Business Meeting
2 October
This meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, addressed various subjects including goal-line technology, additional assistant referees and the wearing of headscarves.

Football for Hope Centre, Rwanda
3 October
We took another big step towards fulfilling our commitment to building 20 Football for Hope Centres across Africa with the opening of the Kimisagara centre in Rwanda. It is the seventh of 20 planned projects and continues the legacy of the official campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The ceremony in Kigali was attended by Rwandan Sports and Culture Minister Protais Mitali, as well as hundreds of local children.

FIFA Ambassador Simone Farina at Aston Villa
17 October
Italian footballer Simone Farina, who earlier this year became a Football for Hope Ambassador, has been appointed as a community coach by Aston Villa. His work will include developing the youth programme on integrity in sport. We need football to be clean, transparent and honest – this is what Simone believes in, this is what we at FIFA believe in. Congratulations Simone! 

Myanmar hosts FIFA health project
22 October
Myanmar marked the dawn of a new era by hosting the first-ever educational FIFA “11 for Health” programme in Asia with teachers and coaches from 18 pilot schools from all over the country, who will be in charge of implementing football for health schemes. After the successful implementation of this programme in various African nations, we have now taken the FIFA “11 for Health” to Myanmar and hope it will mark the start of the successful roll-out of the programme in Asia.

Prospective assistant referees’ seminar
29 October – 2 November
The road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil continued with a seminar in Zurich for assistant referees from Africa and Europe. After undergoing medical assessments, the seminar began with theoretical, training, practical and psychological sessions.

Did you know that…

… Football legends Pelé and Sir Bobby Charlton celebrated their 72nd and 75th birthdays respectively in October. Happy birthday!

… Secretary General Jérôme Valcke and Executive Committee member Fernando Manilal also celebrated their birthdays this month. Happy birthday!

… Sheffield FC, the world’s oldest club, celebrated 155 years since its foundation back in 1857!

… The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup has grown into a major sporting event, gathering interest from sponsors, host cities, supporters and media. As a result, 12 member associations have begun the bidding procedure to host the 2015 edition.

… The Danish Football Association hosted a FIFA futsal seminar with the purpose of building a strong foundation for the development of the discipline in the country. The key message: having a structure in place is essential to the successful growth of futsal.

… A training course for women’s football coaches from Eastern Europe and Central Asia was held in Baku alongside the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan 2012. Thirty-one coaches (20 men and 11 women) attended.

... The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University awarded diplomas to 28 graduates of the fifth edition of the FIFA/CIES Programme. Congratulations!

… I was very pleased to attend two events in Geneva on 8 October at the Club Suisse de la Presse and the Club Diplomatique to give speeches on the topic “Football is more than just a game”.

Condolences

My sincere condolences go to the friends and family of all those who have passed away this month, including:

• Pape Diop, Senegal, former national team coach
• León Londoño Tamayo, Colombia, FIFA Honorary Member
• Rafael Lesmes, Spain, former Real Madrid player
• Harry Valérien, Germany, sports journalist
• Thomas Madigage, South Africa, assistant coach of Bafana Bafana
• Helmut Haller, Germany, former international player
• Professor Sedick Isaacs, South African humanist and scientist
• Jawad Akeddar, Morocco, Hassania Union Sport d’Agadir (HUSA) player
• Affoh Korké, Togo, member of the Executive Board of the Togolese Football Association
• John Connelly, member of England’s 1966 FIFA World Cup-winning squad
• Jozef Mannaerts, former Belgian international player

Looking ahead

• FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand
1-18 November

• Legal Committee meeting in Zurich
7 November

• Football Committee meeting in Zurich
16 November

• Organising Committee for the FIFA Confederations Cup meeting, Brazil
30 November

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