President's Column: March 2013
© Foto-net

Dear member associations, dear friends,
Welcome to the March edition of the President’s message.

In the spotlight

Reform process
IFAB to broaden consultation process
1-3 March
The Annual General Meeting of the IFAB (International Football Association Board) convened for the 127th time since its formation in 1886. It was agreed that the IFAB would broaden its consultation process to make decision-making more inclusive across the global football framework, as part of FIFA’s governance reforms. For more information on the IFAB Annual General Meeting, please see: www.FIFA.com

FIFA Executive Committee reviews governance reforms and strengthens the fight against racism after a busy meeting week
20-21 March
The FIFA Executive Committee reviewed the remaining governance reform proposals which had been examined by confederation working groups and the FIFA Legal Committee. The proposals will be presented to the FIFA Congress in May following the first series of reforms, which were approved by the Congress in 2012. The Executive Committee approved a new set of General Regulations for FIFA Development Programmes, which will come into force on 1 July 2013. The Executive Committee also proposed co-opting two more female members onto the committee. In addition, as part of our ongoing determination to kick intolerance and prejudice out of football, FIFA has established a Task Force against Racism and Discrimination, headed by FIFA Vice-President Jeffrey Webb. AC Milan star Kevin-Prince Boateng accepted my invitation to join the Task Force after a meeting at FIFA.

On the road

Two football stalwarts celebrate 25 years’ service
35th CAF Congress in Morocco, Hayatou celebrates 25-year landmark
9-10 March
It was my great pleasure and honour to attend the 35th Confederation of African Football Congress in Marrakech, where all 54 members of Africa’s football family discussed ways of taking the sport forward across the continent. CAF President Issa Hayatou was unanimously re-elected to win a sixth term and also celebrated 25 years at the helm of CAF. The re-election of Egypt’s Hany Abo Rida to the FIFA Executive Committee for a further four years was also confirmed.

25 years for D’Hooghe as chairman of FIFA’s Medical Committee
15-16 March
Another football stalwart celebrating 25 years at the top of his game in March was Dr Michel D’Hooghe, chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee. To commemorate this feat, the Medical Committee met in Dr D’Hooghe’s home region in the Belgian city of Knokke-Heist.

At the Home of FIFA

New President of the Football Federation of Ukraine comes to FIFA
5 March
I hosted the newly elected President of the Football Federation of Ukraine, Anatoliy Konkov. A former international defender and coach, Ukraine’s new football chief has said he is keen to focus on developing and encouraging grassroots football. We look forward to working together with Ukraine in the future.

Visit of the Football Association of Wales
7 March
I was happy to welcome Trefor Hughes, the President of the Football Association of Wales, to the Home of FIFA. Wales, as a member of the law-setting International Football Association Board, has a rich and proud footballing history. It was a pleasure to discuss a range of issues with Mr Hughes after the IFAB decision to broaden its consultation process.

Qatar Football Association President at FIFA
7 March
It was a pleasure to host the President of the Qatar Football Association, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. With Qatar set to become the first Arab nation to stage the FIFA World Cup™ in 2022, we enjoyed a fruitful discussion about the preparations planned for the years leading up to the tournament.

Two Futsal World Cup delegations
11 and 18 March
FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke and I welcomed delegations from the Czech Football Association and the Colombian Football Association as part of the bidding process for the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2016.

Meeting with the Brazilian Sports Minister
19 March
Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo visited FIFA, presenting a good opportunity for us to update each other on preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Minister Rebelo spoke of “a spirit of harmony and cooperation” between all those involved in organising next year’s tournament. I look forward to travelling to Brazil in June to attend the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, which promises to be an outstanding competition and which will give Brazil a chance to showcase the progress it is making towards the staging of the FIFA World Cup™.

More visitors to the Home of FIFA
It was also a pleasure to receive the following guests at the HoF:

·         Mongolian Football Federation President Ganbold Buyannemekh
·         Bahrain Football Association President Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa
·         Cuban Football Association President Luis Hernández
·         United Arab Emirates Football Association President Yousuf Al Serkal
·         The Zurich Press Association
·         Former Germany international Michael Ballack

Other events

First FIFA Medical Centre in Australia
1 March
The Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre (OPSMC) in Melbourne was inaugurated as a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence by FIFA Chief Medical Officer Professor Jiri Dvorak at an official ceremony. The OPSMC is the first Australian sports medicine centre to receive such an honour and joins a prestigious list of 32 accredited centres and clinics worldwide.

Record applications for FIFA Masters
3 March
The CIES (International Centre for Sports Studies) has received a record number of applications for the 14th edition of the FIFA Master Programme. The FIFA Master Scientific Committee will now review all the applications and decide which candidates will win scholarships. The decisions are expected in May.

FIFA videos win coveted PR awards
22 March
I was delighted to see two of our corporate campaign films about FIFA’s work in football development and corporate social responsibility (CSR) recognised at the prestigious IVCA Awards in London. The awards celebrate the very best in filmed communications from the previous year. FIFA won silver in the Public Relations category for a ten-minute film which looked at football development projects in Azerbaijan, Namibia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, the Philippines and Tahiti. The CSR film, about non-governmental bodies supported by FIFA’s Football for Hope movement in Cambodia, Colombia and Zambia, took bronze in the Charity and Not for Profit category. The two films can be viewed on our YouTube channel here: www.youtube.com/FIFATV

Did you know that…

… The FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ will be smoke-free competitions? The move is part of FIFA’s long-standing commitment to move towards non-smoking events, which started with a ban on tobacco advertising in 1986.
… More than 475,000 tickets for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 have been sold already? We have also made an extra 42,000 tickets available to the public.
… The Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup™ has broadened its responsibilities to cover decisions related to preparations for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups™?

Looking ahead

·         Visits to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba for Goal project inaugurations, 15-18 April
·         Independent Governance Committee, Zurich, 16-17 April
·         CONCACAF Congress, Panama City, 19 April
·         AFC Extraordinary and Ordinary Congresses. Kuala Lumpur, 2-3 May

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