Blatter: A great stage for Beach Soccer
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On Thursday, 1 September, an official press conference took place ahead of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2011 in Ravenna/Italy, involving FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke, FIFA Executive Committee member and Chairman of the FIFA Organising Committee Ricardo Terra Teixeira, President of the Italian FA (FIGC) Carlo Giancarlo Abete, President of the Local Organising Committee Carlo Tavecchio, and President of the Italian Olympic Committee Gianni Petrucci.

FIFA.com brings you some of the main excerpts.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter

On the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Ravenna/Italy 2011
"It's a pleasure to be here in Ravenna for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. It's wonderful that this tournament is taking place in Italy, four time FIFA World Cup™ winners and a country in which football enjoys great standing. Compliments to the organisers."

On the development of Beach Soccer
"15 years ago I visited an international Beach Soccer tournament on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. We realised back then how important it was for the organisation and development of the sport for it to be integrated into FIFA. The highlight of this development was the introduction of the first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2005 in Brazil. Now the tournament is entering its sixth edition and we're delighted it's taking place in a country so enthusiastic about football, because it will give the sport the chance to present itself on the biggest stage."

On Beach Soccer as a potential Olympic sport
"It would be a great thing for the Olympics to include Beach Soccer, especially at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. There's a long way to go, however. First it requires the initiative of the organisers of the Olympic Games. We'd have to see what is possible and what isn't. If Beach Soccer does become an Olympic sport, it should be for both men and women."

Giancarlo Abete, President of the Italian FA (FIGC)

On the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Ravenna/Italy 2011
"Welcome to the sixth edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. It's a great honour for Italy to be able to host this wonderful tournament. We're delighted to welcome the FIFA President here to Ravenna and very proud to be one of FIFA's 208 member associations."

Gianni Petrucci, President of the Italian Olympic Committee

On the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Ravenna/Italy 2011
"I'm delighted to welcome the beach soccer world to Ravenna. My thanks go to the organisers of the tournament, who have done some truly fantastic work. We've already worked successfully with FIFA and President Blatter in the past. FIFA has facilitated football's fantastic development over the past few years."