FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter stopped in Palestine yesterday during his tour of the Middle East to fulfill the mandate given him by the 63rd FIFA Congress: to try to improve the current state of football in Palestine.
FIFA hopes to carry out its mission of developing and promoting the sport in many developing countries, in accordance with the FIFA Statutes.
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The FIFA Vice President, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, and President of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), Jibril Rajoub, accompanied FIFA’s President. He was officially received at the Presidential Complex in Ramallah, where he met with Yasser Abd Raboh, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
“We will help you. Football will help you. I have taken you in my heart”, said the FIFA President to his Palestinian hosts according to a press release from the organization. “I’m in a sport-diplomatic mission to transmit to the Israeli authorities the problems which your football faces, especially when it comes to the movement of players to get in and out of Palestine. I will fight for your cause. Football shall not create borders; football shall bring people together, “he added.
According to the press release, a few hours earlier Blatter inaugurated three new projects: football turf pitch in Tulkarm, the Joseph Blatter Football Academy in Al Bireh and the new headquarters of the PFA in Al Ram.
Dr. Rami Hamdallah, Dean of the An-Najah National University and Palestinian Prime Minister, bestowed Joseph S. Blatter with an Honorary Doctorate from the University in Nablus in a ceremony attended by hundreds of enthusiastic students.
The President also presented the “100 years of football in Palestine” book, which was funded by FIFA.