FIFA’s New Year Reception A Highlight
Aporoximately 200 guests were welcomed by Joseph S. Blatter to the traditional FIFA New Year reception on 9 January 2008. In high, spirits, the FIFA President greeted many friends at the Home of FIFA, incuding prominent guests from local sports, political and business circles as well as the cultural scene The guest of honour at this year’s reception was Swiss national team coach Jakob Kuhn, who |0ined the FIFA President and FIFA Executive memoer Franz Beckenbauer on stage. In the midstof this illustrious gathering, the three entertained the guests with pleasantries on the subject of football, moderated by FIFA’s Acting D’rector of Communications Andreas Herren. Comments obviously focused on the upcoming UEFA EURO 2008 due to take place in Switzerland and Austria this summer. “I’m happy that Zurich ‘s a venue for the European Championship end I am sure that we will see some great games here in our city, with France, Italy and Romania showing up. I’m a bit sad triai Switzerland won’t be playing here,” admitted Blatter “But I ihink that Switzerland can reach the semi-finals, and from that point or, anything is possible.”
Beckenbaueriomeo in ard admitted, that “although my predictions usually dor’t come true, I consider Germany one of the favourites, witn a young and we’l-deveioped team.” Concerning FIFA, he said with ris trademark rumour, “It has been a good start to the year for FiFA, as the President is in a very good mood. If this is the same a: the enc of the year, it will have been a very good year.” Kuhn said that his team would be hoping to go far in the European finals, and he would do everything possible to coach his team to the final. “On 29 June 2008, I would like to answer the question of how I saw rny team score the winning goal,” Kuhn said w’th a smile.
The coach was given a small replica FIFA World Cup Trophy and a honorary medal as a memento of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany. “He did fantastic things in 2006, reaching the round of 16 with the Swiss team,” said Blatter, before adding “But if only he had better penalty takers.”
Blatter and FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke then handed over a cheque for CHF 50,000 to Zurich city councillor Gerold Lauber for the town’s sports holiday camp for young people in Fiesch I’canton of Valais)
Finally, the FIFA President read “A poem of time” to his guests, finishing with the words: “I wish you time -time to live.” After the official ceremony, the guests enjoyed the crisp January afternoon at the Home of FIFA with a delicious lunch buffet, mingling with friends and colleagues. Amongst many representatives from sports, business and politics were Stephane Chapuisat, SOS Children’s Villages ambassador, former Swiss international and world-class player for Borussia Dortmund, Jorg Stiel, Dormer Swiss national team goalkeeper, Andy Egli, former Swiss international, and Ralph Zloczower, President of the Swiss football association (SFV).