Blatter saddened by Pettay’s passing
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FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has sent a letter of condolence to Sergey Fursenko, his counterpart at the Russian Football Union (RFU), expressing his sadness at the death of respected FIFA referee Vladimir Pettay.

The 38-year-old was among 44 victims of a plane crash in the northern Russian city of Petrozavodsk yesterday as he returned from officiating in a Russian Premier League match between Dinamo Moscow and Rubin Kazan. Pettay had begun his refereeing career in 1996, aged just 23, and had risen to become one of his nation’s most decorated officials.

In his letter to Fursenko, Blatter wrote: “On behalf of FIFA and the worldwide family of football, I wish to extend our condolences to you, the Russian football community and, most importantly, to Vladimir Pettay’s family, friends and loved ones. Please let them know today the football community stands by their side.”

Pettay is survived by his wife and two children, and Fursenko has already pledged the RFU’s support in this respect. "We will help the family, without a doubt,” vowed the RFU president. “He was a person who dedicated himself to football. He has a wonderful family."