FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has written to the Syrian Football Association (SFA) to express his shock and sadness at the death of the organisation’s former president, Marawan Arafat. The 67-year-old, who had served the SFA for ten years after his days as a player and match official came to an end, was killed on Tuesday in an attack in which his wife was also critically injured.
In a letter to Salah Edeen Ramadan, the current SFA president, Blatter wrote: "I know that Marawan Arafat devoted his life to football. He was an active football player, FIFA referee, manager, academic lecturer and one of the most prominent figures in Syrian football. President of the Syrian Football Association from March 1994 to January 1996 and from October 2003 to February 2004, I knew him personally and cannot speak highly enough of his tireless efforts promote football in his region. He will be sorely missed.
"On behalf of FIFA and the worldwide family of football I wish to extend our deepest condolences to you, to everyone at the Syrian Football Association and, most importantly, to the family of Marawan Arafat. I wish his wife a lot of strength, courage and a speedy recovery. Please let them know that the football community stands by their side at this time of sorrow."