On the next leg of his tour of the Middle East, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter visited Bahraini capital Manama on Saturday 11 December 2010, where he was received by Bahrain Football Association (BFA) President Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa and General Secretary Abdulrahman Sayyar.

Attending a ceremony at BFA headquarters, the FIFA President provided a moment to treasure for all concerned when he laid the foundation stone for an ultra-modern administration block, to be constructed next year. The office complex is the association’s fifth initiative to receive financial support from the FIFA Goal Project.

“I am delighted and proud. Today is a memorable day,” said Sheikh Al Khalifa. “We have steadily continued our development in recent years, and our new building is the best evidence of that. I thank FIFA from the bottom of my heart for their generous support, which has been a vital component in our development.”

Other initiatives at the BFA site supported by Goal Project funds in recent years include the association headquarters, a technical centre, a youth academy, and two latest-generation artificial turf pitches, which were officially opened by the FIFA President.

“I am delighted to be here today, seeing this fantastic facility for myself.  I congratulate Bahrain on its exemplary development path and its numerous initiatives in promoting young talent, in both the men’s and women’s games,” said Blatter, who then observed a match between two representative junior teams, praising the high technical and tactical standards on display.

“Here in Manama, we have created excellent training conditions for our national teams thanks to our outstanding partnership with FIFA. We are only a small country, but we are very ambitious. We are working very hard on becoming more successful in the future. One of our goals is to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” stated BFA President Al Khalifa. In qualifying for both the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup™ finals, Bahrain fell only at the final play-off hurdle.

To round off the day, FIFA President Blatter took questions from media representatives at a news conference, before travelling on to Abu Dhabi for the evening’s quarter-final in the FIFA Club World Cup 2010 between Al-Wahda Sports Club and Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma F.C.