President's column: February 2013
© Foto-net

Dear member associations,
Dear friends,

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

In the spotlight

FIFA launches reporting mechanism
6 February

As part of its reform process, FIFA has launched a reporting mechanism where infringements of the FIFA Code of Ethics and of FIFA’s regulatory framework relating to match manipulation can be securely reported and treated with the strictest confidentiality. The reporting mechanism will also enable individuals to notify FIFA of potential violations. 

Introduction of an e-learning ethics tool
20 February

FIFA introduced an e-learning tool to help its 209 member associations become more familiar with the provisions of the FIFA Code of Ethics. The initiative, which marks another important step in FIFA’s ongoing reform process, provides an overview of the document’s scope, the consequences of violating it, and a review of the rules of conduct.

On the road

Six-day Africa tour begins in Mauritania
6 February

My six-day working tour of Africa to visit various development programmes and attend the Africa Cup of Nations final began with a visit to Mauritania and was followed by trips to Guinea, Botswana and South Africa, where I attended the CAF Africa Cup of Nations final.

In the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott, I was very well received by the FA President, Ahmed Yahya. I was particularly pleased to be able to witness the impact of FIFA’s PERFORMANCE Programme, a management initiative designed to help the member associations reach their maximum potential. The main focus of PERFORMANCE in Mauritania has been on improving communication skills, particularly in the area of audiovisual production.

A warm welcome in Conakry, Guinea
7 February

The second stop of my six-day tour of Africa took me to the Guinean capital of Conakry, where I was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana. I visited various development programmes, including the construction of the Guinean Football Association’s new headquarters, which are being built under the Goal Programme. The Prime Minister, FA President Salifou Camara, Minister for Sport Sanoussy Bantama Sow and I also participated in the opening of the Nongo Football Academy, the centrepiece of Guinea’s Goal project which was refurbished under the PERFORMANCE Programme.

Investing in football in Botswana
9 February

It was a pleasure to return to Botswana after a 12-year absence. In addition to inaugurating the extension of the Lekidi Technical Centre in Gaborone, a Goal II project, I participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a football turf pitch together with the country’s Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, and the FA President, Tebogo Sebego. Also on my agenda was an audience with the nation’s Vice-President Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who is a former footballer. 

The CAF Africa Cup of Nations final
10 February

It was delightful to be back in South Africa for the Africa Cup of Nations final! Before the match, I met with the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, FIFA Vice-President Issa Hayatou and other officials. I would like to once again congratulate Nigeria on claiming their third CAF title with a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in the final, thus securing their place at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013.

At the Home of FIFA

Meeting week at the Home of FIFA
11-15 February

The first meeting week of the year 2013 took place at FIFA’s headquarters and I was delighted to welcome delegates from around the world to Zurich. It was a busy yet highly successful week of committee meetings.

Halkbank new National Supporter of FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey
12 February

The Turkish financial institution Halkbank was confirmed as the first National Supporter of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey, which will take place from 21 June to 13 July this year. It was a pleasure to welcome bank officials to the Home of FIFA to kick off this new partnership. 

Visit of the Palestinian FA
12 February

A delegation from the Palestinian Football Association, led by their President, Jibril Al Rajoub, visited the Home of FIFA.

Strategic Committee convenes at FIFA
15 February

The Strategic Committee, chaired by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, convened at the Home of FIFA to discuss a range of very diverse topics, including two major issues: the fight against racism and protecting the game. The members, representing the different facets of the game, concluded their discussions with the formalisation of concrete proposals which will now be submitted to the FIFA Executive Committee for deliberation at its next session on 20-21 March. 

WADA on a courtesy visit to FIFA
14 February

It was a pleasure to receive WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) President John Fahey and WADA Director General David Howman at the Home of FIFA.

During the courtesy visit, Mr Fahey thanked FIFA for its progressive and productive collaboration with WADA over the years in the fight against doping. I would like to reiterate FIFA’s commitment to fighting against this serious threat to football and to continuing working hand in hand with WADA. 

Seminar for referee instructors in Zurich
18-21 February

I was delighted to welcome 48 international referee instructors to the Home of FIFA, who are responsible for instructing top referees and assistant referees. The seminar was designed to prepare them for all refereeing activities in 2013, such as courses for national instructors and assessors, courses for referees in the member associations and confederations, as well as FIFA competitions and tournaments organised by the various confederations. 

Iranian FA at FIFA
20 February

The President of the IR Iran Football Federation, Ali Kafashian, led a delegation from his country on a courtesy visit to the Home of FIFA. It was a pleasure to engage in various football-related discussions with Mr Kafashian. 

Swiss Confederation President at FIFA
25 February

The President of the Swiss Confederation, Ueli Maurer, paid a courtesy visit to FIFA’s headquarters. It was my pleasure to show Mr Maurer the architecture at the Home of FIFA and introduce him to the Secretary General and various FIFA directors.

Seminar for referee fitness instructors
25-27 February

Together with Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, I welcomed 22 referee fitness instructors to the Home of FIFA, who are responsible for the fitness of the top referees and assistant referees at FIFA and confederation level. Among the many topics discussed, the main focus of the seminar was on preparing the referee fitness instructors for their activities in 2013 and providing an update on the preparation of referees for the 2014 FIFA World CupTM.

More visitors to the Home of FIFA:
It was also a pleasure to welcome the following guests, among others, to the Home of FIFA:

• Dr Franz B. Humer, Chairman of Roche
• Ambassador of Kosovo Naim Malaj

Other events

Football for Hope in South Africa
12 February

The small community of QwaQwa in South Africa has a new Football for Hope Centre, which forms part of FIFA’s 20 Centres for 2010 initiative, the legacy programme of the 2010 FIFA World CupTM. In collaboration with FIFA and Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality, the New loveLife Trust is excited to be involved with this centre, which is designed for young people and their self-development. All partners in the project are united around the shared belief that football has the power to impact social, cultural and humanitarian values and make a difference.

GLT tender launched for Brazil
19 February

Following the successful implementation of goal-line technology (GLT) at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in December 2012, FIFA has decided to use GLT in Brazil at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World CupTM. A tender has been launched in Brazil, setting out the technical requirements for both competitions. All GLT providers already licensed under the FIFA Quality Programme have been invited to submit tenders, as well as the other GLT providers currently in the licensing process.

Did you know that…

 … The newly appointed ambassadors of the 2014 FIFA World Cup unveiled the tournament’s Official Poster at a media briefing in Rio de Janeiro on 30 January. The ambassadors included four FIFA World Cup winners Amarildo, Carlos Alberto Torres, Bebeto and Ronaldo, as well as women’s football star Marta. 

 …FIFA has concluded a number of licensing deals ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™. This represents a significant milestone in FIFA’s licensing programme since its strategic decision to bring this element of the business in house after the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The finalised agreements span widely across the globe, with several deals in Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa as well as a number of worldwide agreements.

… The Official Song for the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013 “Yıldızlar Buradan Yükseliyor” (“Building Bridges for Rising Stars”), performed by Turkish band Gece, drew bumper crowds to the Istinye Park Shopping Mall in Istanbul. The song was performed as part of the ceremony for the unveiling of the adidas Cafusa, which has been selected as the tournament’s official match ball.


Condolences

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

16 fans of club O'Higgins, Chile, killed in a bus accident on returning from an away match
Frank Seator, Liberia, former international player, Liberia national football team player
5 Shakhtar Donetsk fans, Ukraine, killed in an air crash on the way to a UEFA Champions League game
Mr Shigejori Tottori, Japan, father of HRH Princess Takamado
Zlatko Papec, former Yugoslavian national team player, Hajduk Split, Freiburger FC
Alfred Zijai, Albania, former Albania FA member and former international player, KS Flamurtari Vlorë
• Zdeněk Zikán, Czech Republic, former international player
Omar Seck, Senegal, former President of the Senegalese FA and of Jeanne d’Arc
Kjell Hjertsson, Sweden, former international and Malmö FF player
Ian Lister, Scotland, former Aberdeen FC player and President of Inverness City
Knut Nesbø, Norway, former player for Molde and Lyn and sports reporter
Fernando Álvarez, Philippines, former FIFA referee, SG of Philippine FA and referee development officer in USA
Kevin Beltran, Bolivia, CD San José fan killed by flare during a match against Corinthians
Youssef Sleiman, Syria, player killed by mortars during conflict in Syria

Looking ahead

• IFAB Annual General Meeting, Edinburgh
1-3 March

• CAF Congress, Marrakech
10 March

• Medical Committee, Belgium
15 March

• Meeting Week II, Zurich
18-21 March

• Executive Committee, Zurich
20-21 March

• Official Draw for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Istanbul, 25 March

For the Game. For the World.

PS: Stay up to date with my visits and thoughts by following me on twitter: http://twitter.com/seppblatter