FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter expressed his sadness tonight as Poland mourned the deaths of its president and scores of the country's senior figures in a plane crash.

In the statement, the FIFA President said:

"It was with immense sadness that I learnt this morning of the tragedy which resulted in the loss of the lives of President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria and countless prominent figures from Poland’s political, economic and military elite in this tragic accident in Smolensk.

That he should lose his life while travelling to commemorate the anniversary of the loss of thousands of Polish lives in Katyn heightens this tragedy, yet at the same time it is indicative of his abiding devotion to his country and his compatriots. His passing will undoubtedly be the cause of great sorrow.

I know that President Kaczynski was a huge supporter of Polish football, which manifested itself on one historic occasion at a meeting which I had the honour of attending alongside him in Warsaw in 2007.

On behalf of the worldwide football family, I have extended my condolences and deepest sympathy to the Prime Minister of Poland, the President of the Polish Football Federation, the Secretary General of the Polish Olympic Committee at this harrowing time, and wish them strength and fortitude for the challenging days that lie ahead.

As a further mark of our respect and solidarity, the national flag of Poland, as well as the flags of FIFA and UEFA have been lowered to half-mast at the Home of FIFA."