Talks In London, Celebrations In Sheffield
On 24 October 2007, the oldest football club in the world – Sheffield FC – celebrated its 150th anniversary, attended by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter along with several other illustrious guests. After landing in England on 24 October, Blatter stopped off at 10 Downing Street in London for talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. During informal discussions with the British head of government, a number of topics were broached, including the new European Union Treaty, which, to the satisfaction of all sporting organisations and institutions concerned, including FIFA, now recognises the notion of the “special nature” of sport. “This is a major event and a determining one for the management of sport in general and especially football,” commented Blatter after the treaty had been signed. Brown pointed out that he wholeheartedly supported FIFA’s initiatives relating to the development and encouragement of young people through football as a result of the governing body’s manifold education programmes. “The British government seems interested in actively supporting our Football for Hope Movement, particularly in Africa,” remarked Blatter. “We are naturally delighted.”
After his meeting with Brown, Blatter then headed for Sheffield, where a thanksgiving service was held in honour of the oldest club in the world. At the dinner that followed, the FIFA President presented club representatives with a commemorative plaque. “We fee! it is about time that Sheffield and her club receive the attention they fully deserve,” said Sheffield FC chairman Richard Tims. “It is fitting recognition for having played such a crucial role in developing a game which is enjoyed by millions of people around the globe.” Sheffield FC was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit in 2004.