FIFA President expresses his support and condolences
© AFP

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has expressed his condolences to the victims, for the most part children, of the horrific coach accident that occurred in Switzerland on Tuesday. In a letter to the Belgian Ambassador to Switzerland, he likewise underlined his support for the families of everyone touched by the tragedy and the Belgian community as a whole.

“Words are not strong enough to express my feelings following this terrible tragedy,” the FIFA President wrote in his message to Mr Jan Luykx, Belgium’s Ambassador in Berne. “In my own name, and in the name of FIFA, I kindly ask you to pass on our sincerest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and to convey the sympathy and support of the international football community during this particularly cruel time.”

Mr Blatter was greatly affected upon learning news of the tragedy, which took place in his native canton of Valais when a coach carrying Belgian schoolchildren home from a skiing trip crashed into the wall of a tunnel close to the town of Sierre late on Tuesday night. The accident caused the deaths of 28 people, including 22 children between the ages of 10 and 12.

The 52 people on board the coach were primarily schoolchildren from the Flemish towns of Lommel and Heverlee, and their adult supervisors. They were returning to Belgium after staying in Val d'Anniviers in the Swiss Alps. Another 24 children were injured in the crash, some seriously, and they have been ferried to different hospitals in the region.

“I also wish all of the children injured in this accident plenty of courage and a swift recovery,” added Blatter in his letter, which was also addressed to the Belgian Football Federation and FIFA Executive Committee member Dr Michel d’Hooghe.