On 20 June 2014, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter sent a letter to Pope Francis in which he confirmed that he was able to keep the promise he made during his visit to the Vatican on 22 November 2013.

“We released three doves of peace at the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup, thereby sending a strong and symbolic message of hope to all,” he explained in his message.

The head of football’s governing body also used the opportunity to remind the pontiff of the ‘Handshake for Peace’ initiative. “Before and after every match, the two teams will shake hands to promote peace and fair play,” he said. The campaign, a powerful manifestation of friendship and respect, is run jointly by FIFA and the Nobel Peace Center.

FIFA has also launched a #SayNoToRacism campaign for this World Cup, the goal of which is to encourage football fans to post a ‘selfie’ photo of themselves on social networks holding a #SayNoToRacism sign.

Thousands of anonymous users have already answered the call, as have many household names such as Lionel Messi, Steven Gerrard, Samuel Eto’o. The overall aim is demonstrate the unity and community spirit that exist within the world of football.

"As a man of faith and as President of FIFA, I send you my warmest and most sincere personal regards, and the regards of the entire football community,” Blatter concluded.