Solidarity and fair play
The day had begun with the FIFA Congress approving – virtually unanimously and by acclamation – the agenda for the 2007 meeting, the minutes of the 2006 congress in Munich, the FIFA Activity Report and FIFA’s finances. In his explanation of FIFA’s current financial situation, the then General Secretary Urs Linsi noted that by the end of the 2003-2006 period, FIFA had considerably surpassed its original equity target of CHF 500 million as the governing body had equity amounting to CHF 752 million. Looking ahead to the 2007-2010 period, Linsi predicted a more modest increase to USD 850 million, explaining that FIFA would be increasing its development budget by 50 per cent from USD 457 million to USD 690 million in order to meet its many responsibilities.
The 57th FIFA Congress had opened at Zurich’s Hallenstadion one day earlier on 30 May 2007 in a blaze of colour. Representatives of all member associations were joined at the ceremony by many observers and guests for addresses, awards, shows, a story about a golden magic football and short films from all six confederations that showcased the diversity of football’s off-the-pitch activities.
In his welcome speech, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter stressed that the 2007 FIFA Congress would mark the end of an era, but also the start of a new one. “We can look back on a period that at the start was still affected by the crisis of 2002, but it was also one that was brought to a successful conclusion,” he said. “We are now standing at the start of the 2007 to 2010 period, which will also bring challenges with it.”
The FIFA President even went a step further just like FIFA’s new slogan when he said, “During the past thirty years, FIFA has channeled its energy into development in football. At the same time, football’s social responsibility has evolved and, with adequate funds available now and in the future, FIFA can take another huge step forward by making a decisive contribution to the development of society through football – all in the spirit of solidarity and fair play.”