Zurich, 20 December 2004 - The FIFA Presidential Award and the FIFA Fair Play Award have this year been conferred upon the football associations of Haiti and Brazil respectively in recognition of the "Match for Peace" played by the two association's national teams in Port-au-Prince (Haiti) on 18 August. Joseph S. Blatter presented the FIFA Presidential Award himself to his counterpart from the Haiti football association, Dr Yves Jean-Bart, during the FIFA World Player Gala at the Zurich Opera House this evening. The president of the Brazilian football association, Ricardo Terra Teixeira, received the FIFA Fair Play Award from Sir Bobby Charlton.
The United Nations, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Haiti Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, the two countries' football associations and their respective national teams had joined forces to stage a match whose impact transcended the boundaries of the football pitch. The players involved were especially sympathetic and receptive to the significance of the event. Released by their clubs for this worthy cause, a Brazil squad including Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos responded emphatically to the call for solidarity.
"In conferring these special awards upon the football associations of Haiti and Brazil, FIFA is acknowledging the indispensable role solidarity plays in the harmony of our world. This match perfectly illustrated the central principles of the fair play family that FIFA embodies. It is touching that the "Match for Peace" allowed football once again to bring comfort to people who are suffering," said President Blatter during the presentation. "Like FIFA, the Haiti football association has been celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and I deeply regret that I have not been able to visit the association during the last twelve months. It is therefore of great importance to me this evening to extend my most heartfelt wishes to the Haitian football family that a brighter future lies ahead, full of joy and success," he added.
By recognising the two associations' actions, FIFA continues the quest to promote peace that it first embarked upon one hundred years ago, using football - a simple game, yet one that is universal in its popularity - to play a conscious and active role in bringing peoples together and fighting against discrimination in all its guises.