FIFA President completes Middle East trip in Israel


July 9, 2013, (ISN) FIFA – FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter completed his trip to the Middle East in Israel, when he arrived yesterday.

Accompanied by the President of the Israel Football Association, Avi Luzon, and its Secretary General, Ori Shilo, the FIFA President was received this morning by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Fifa middle east visit

Photo © Getty images-archived/courtesy FIFA

Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport, Limor Livnat, also attended this meeting.

Before departing the country, Joseph S. Blatter also had a personal call with the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres.

At a press conference in Jerusalem, the FIFA President stated:

“I’m very happy that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened his doors to receive me and my delegation, as well as the delegation of the Israel Football Association – including President Avi Luzon and Secretary General Ori Shilo this morning. This is a sign that my mandate is of national interest.

“I explained to him the content of the mandate I’ve been given by the FIFA Congress in May. In a nutshell: to ease the movements of teams, referees – but also football equipment – in and out of and within Palestine.

“I’ve asked for the Prime Minister’s help and he said yes, but with truth and fair-play. He also asked me to help him so that football is not used as a political tool.

“I’ve suggested that FIFA organises a Task Force with the Presidents of FIFA, UEFA, AFC and the Football Associations of Israel and Palestine. This proposal was welcomed by the Prime Minister. The Task Force will meet in Zurich before the next meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee in October.

“FIFA – and me personally – will continue to work on this dossier. We will keep you informed about the next steps.”