First World Leagues Predictor Champion Crowned
The Canadian Michael Pearson (MPeari 1) accumulated a total of exactly 7,949 points in 31 weeks to become overall winner of the first season of the FIFA.com World Leagues Predictor competition. Pearson has won a trip for two and tickets for a group match at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. More than 26,000 predictors took part in the inaugural season. The second season begins in August and the first prize will again be a trip for two to South Africa. In addition to the main prize, great prizes will be given away every week, such as signed shirts from FIFA World Cup™ winners and other official FIFA merchandise. You can sign up for the second season at: http://en.predictor.fifa.eom/M/home.mc.
UN special adviser visits the Home of FIFA
The Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace Willi Lemke met with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on 9 May. They agreed to strengthen cooperation between FIFA and the United Nations to further advocate the role of sports as an effective tool for development and peace in the lead-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ and the 2015 deadline for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Lemke commended FIFA’s commitment to using football as a tool for the promotion of development and peace, in particular through the Football for Hope Movement. Lemke, who was general manager of German first division club Werder Bremen for 18 years and is now a UN special adviser, is an advocate of the educational potential of sport in general and football in particular. The UN special adviser visited South Africa in June and used the opportunity to visit Football for Hope projects and to meet the Local Organising Committee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
The football world mourns Ken Naganuma
The international football family is mourning Ken Naganuma. One of the most important figures in Japanese football history died on 2 June at the age of 77 as a result of complications from pneumonia. Naganuma was a football pioneer, an enthusiast and a gentleman. He served the sport he loved as a player, then as a coach, president of the Japan Football Association and deputy chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™, leaving an enduring legacy. “We will retain fond memories of an accomplished leader and an extraordinary man who left an indelible mark on the game of football in Asia, not only in helping to establish the J.League in 1993 but also as an early proponent of hosting the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ in Japan,” wrote FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter in a condolence letter to the Japan Football Association. Naganuma rose to prominence as a skilful, determined forward with an eye for goal. He represented his country at senior level, and was part of Japan’s squad for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Melbourne 1956. In 1962, at the age of only 32, he was appointed national team coach. In that position he led Japan to their first Olympic medal in 1968 in Mexico. Japan drew against Brazil and Spain and beat Nigeria. That brought them to the knock-out phase, where they overcame France. After a defeat in the semi-final against Hungary, they beat hosts Mexico 2-0 in the third-place play-off and won bronze. Naganuma continued to have a great influence on Japanese football even after he had retired as coach. He played a central role in the establishment of the J.League in 1993, and helped it develop into the successful competition it is today.