Blatter Takes To The Pitch
The final weekend in August was a special one for FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter with the 3rd Sepp Blatter Golf Challenge in Obergesteln and the 10th Sepp Blatter football tournament in Ulrichen (Upper Valais) 24 hours later, but the highlight was undoubtedly a football match between a “FIFA Dream Team” and “Team 2000″. Blatter, who donned the number 9 shirt just as he did during his days as a striker in the third highest Swiss league, captained the Dream Team to a 3-2 win. Famous faces who accepted Btatter’s invitation to spend a weekend in his home canton included UEFA President and FIFA Vice-President Michel Platini, FIFA Executive Committee member Franz Beckenbauer former German internationals Karlheinz Riedle and Hansi Muller, former Argentina star Gabriel Calderon (the current coach of Oman), former Bulgaria striker Petar Aleksandrov and a number of former Switzerland stars including Jean-Paul Brigger (now one of Blatter’s aides and the organiser of the tournament in Ulrichen), Andy Egli, Raimondo Ponte, Stephane Chapuisat, Georges Bregy, Adrian Knup and Kubilay Turkyilmaz (the latter now a FIFA ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages).
A crowd of 1,000 people turned up to watch the match, which was refereed by FIFA referee Nicole Petignat. “That’s five times the population of Ulrichen!” said Blatter to the media. By way of comparison, only 50 spectators had attended the inaugural tournament in 1998.