On the eve of the opening games of the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004, the FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter held a press conference with Ricardo Terra Teixeira - the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the FIFA Futsal World Championship, Huang Shih-Cheng - President of the Chinese Taipei Football Association and Chang Chan-Wei - General Secretary of the Chinese Taipei Football Association. The event at the Far Eastern Hotel in Taipei City was to welcome the local, national and international press to the World Championships. FIFA.com brings you a record of what was said.
We're all extremely happy to have the FIFA Futsal World Championship in Chinese Taipei. We are all looking forward to the opening ceremony at 14.45 in the National Taiwan University on Sunday. I would like to welcome Mr Blatter for the opening ceremony and to welcome delegates from all over the world for this grand tournament. It would take 800 years for all the countries to each host the FIFA World Cup so this is why this is a great honour for Chinese Taipei.
We have been successful in promoting the game and we'd like to thank FIFA for their help in this. The preparation is complete and we hope to have a very successful tournament.
Ricardo Terra Teixeira
Thanks for your presence. As Chairman of the Futsal Commission I would like you to please support the event and I would like to thank you for coming and hope you enjoy the tournament.
Joseph S. Blatter
It's an honour for me as the FIFA President to be in Chinese Taipei to honour one of the 205 Associations and to congratulate the Chinese Taipei Association on organizing the 5th FIFA Futsal World Championship. This is a worldwide competition and futsal will become more and more popular because there of space restrictions, especially in cities. It is a wonderful school of technique - many of the leading personalities in football started in futsal - Figo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Romario, Kaka and Marta - and you can tell by the way they touch the ball with the soles of their feet. This very fast game will now be seen around the world.
On what impact the tournament will make in a nation interested in baseball and basketball
FIFA has two objectives when it decides on tournament hosting - by organising a worldwide competition it provides experience to Football Associations fortheir local activities and to promote the game of football. It would be hard for a country like Chinese Taipei to stage the World Cup but the facilities here are superb for futsal.
I've just come back from Panama where these two sports are very popular. Panama has just qualified for the last six in CONCACAF. Here futsal will increase the knowledge of the public that the sport is attractive with lots of passion - it's more dynamic than baseball - but that's not to denigrate other sports. It's important for the international audience that a small country has the right to stage an international event like this one.
On the recent China v Hong Kong and Kuwait v Malaysia FIFA World Cup qualifiers
There was a draw and the draw came out that these four teams were playing. China lost one match by one goal and they did not qualify. These two matches were played within the laws of the game, within the rules and regulations of the tournament. We just have to accept the result - you can't ask if something is good for one country or the other. This is football. Asia has 4 and a half places - now the eight teams have to fight to get to Germany. Among football's core values are emotion, passion, drama and in this case tragedy. We have to accept the result.
On the Chinese reaction to the decision to host the tournament in Chinese Taipei
We are not in politics. There was no dissent. Chinese Taipei are a member association. They applied, and they were not alone - there were many other strong candidates including Australia and Iran.The Executive Committee voted in a democratic decision by a huge majority to award the tournament to Chinese Taipei because it would do benefit football in this country.
On tournaments being staged in Asia
There is no special reason why many tournaments are staged in Asia but I must pay tribute to the AFC. They apply to host tournaments because they want to develop football. This has woken up the other continents. After they were given the World Cup in 2010, Africa has realised that they should try to organise other tournaments in their continent.
On a futsal player of the year
After I received a request from Ricardo Terra Teixeira I decided that we should honour the World Futsal Player of the Year at the FIFA Gala on 20 December at the Zurich Opera House. So it will not just be the best football player but the best futsal player as well. We will also have the final of the FIFA Interactive World Cup in Zurich on the 19 December and the winner of that will be invited to the Gala too.
On the effects on Guatemala after they hosted the FIFA Futsal World Championship in 2000
Guatemala has just qualified for the last six in the CONCACAF qualification for FIFA World Cup Germany 2006, so you can see what's happened - although I would have to say that football was already very popular there.
On futsal becoming an Olympic sport
I am a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). I have tried to get the IOC to recognize futsal as a winter sport but we need to get a transfer of different sports into winter disciplines. The IOC is a rather conservative organisation - they say that sports in the Winter Olympics should involve snow or ice.