FIFA President visits the Philippines
While en route to the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan (7-16 December 2007), FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter stopped off in the Philippines to attend the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).
After a whistle-stop visit to Singapore’s Changi Airport, where he dropped in at the very first FIFA store (which opened on 16 January 2008), the FIFA President headed to Manila. His first duty in the Filipino capital was to attend a press conference with PFF President Jose Mari Martinez and the President of the Asian Football Confederation, Mohamed bin Hammam. “The FIFA family is here to help the Philippines to promote the development of the sport in a country that has a long footballing tradition,” said the FIFA President.
Two Goal projects have already been completed in the Philippines, the first involving the construction of a national coaching centre and adjoining pitches in 2001. This was followed in 2006 by the building of a stadium for Manila’s football clubs. To mark its centenary, the PFF also organised a gala dinner that featured a special ceremony to recognise the achievements of the country’s greatest players, among them Paulino Alcantara, who enjoyed two spells with Barcelona (1912-1916 and 1918-1927). The day after the festivities saw the FIFA/AFC delegation visit the Tuloy Sa Don Bosco SOS Children’s Village, where the PFF staged a special youth tournament.