It was with shock and great sadness that FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter learned of the death of Gerhard Kapl. The former vice-president of the Austrian Football Association (OFB) passed away on Monday night in Graz, aged 64, having been voted in for a fourth term as president of the Styrian Football Association just last January.
"On behalf of FIFA and the global family of football I would like to address my sincere condolences to the Austrian Football Federation, the Styrian Football Federation, but above all and from the bottom of my heart to the family of Gerhard Kapl," the FIFA President wrote in a letter to OFB president Dr Leo Windtner.
Kapl made a name for himself in the world of football not only in an official capacity but also as an active referee and expert on officiating. Between 1969 and 1992, he refereed 40 international matches and around 200 more in domestic competition. He also occupied a number of other functions, including that of FIFA Security Officer and member of the FIFA Stadium and Security Working Group.
"Gerhard Kapl performed excellent services to football in so many ways and always stood up for our sport," Blatter added. "Gerhard Kapl's commitment and his creativeness were appreciated by all and he was always held in very high esteem. He was a very committed person and football fan, and we will always have fond memories of our friend Gerhard."