FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was granted a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican at lunchtime on Friday. During the discussions, the Holy Father asked FIFA to use football to promote peace in the world and to help the poor.

“The Holy Father personally asked me to emphasise the role that football can play in educating young people, and also in promoting world peace," said the FIFA President after the audience.

"We both love football, and of course we talked about football too. We are fully aware of our responsibility and know that we can bring people together and make the world a better place through our activities. The Pope firmly believes that football can play a key role in that.” 

In addition to some gifts, the FIFA President presented Pope Francis with an edition of The FIFA Weekly publication in Latin, which was produced exclusively for the Pope. “It was a wonderful moment for me," said President Blatter. "I had butterflies in my stomach before the audience.

"I not only met the Catholic Church’s highest representative, but above all a man who exudes an incredible aura of calmness and dignity. I will forever cherish my memories of this meeting."