GIS – May 31, 2013: The 63rd FIFA Congress opened yesterday at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre (SVICC) in Pailles with a gala performance of locally and globally-known artists depicting the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of Mauritius.
Several eminent personalities were present among whom the President of the Republic, Mr Rajkeswur Purryag, GCSK, GOSK, the Prime Minister, Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, and FIFA’s President Joseph S. Blatter.
Mauritian folk singing and dancing with African, Indian, Asian and European influences combined with the natural elements of fire, earth, water and air highlighted values of tolerance and universality during the colourful ceremony. Four hundred and fifty Mauritian children carried the flags of the 209 member associations at the sound of the FIFA hymn.
A commemorative stamp the 'Blue Mauritius' printed especially for the FIFA Congress was presented to FIFA’s president by the chief executive officer of Mauritius Post Limited and the president of the Mauritius Football Association.
In his address, the Prime Minister stated that for the next two days Mauritius will be centre-staged and major issues (particularly hooliganism, match fixing, and racism) concerning the most popular sport on the planet will be debated.
All sports, said Dr Ramgoolam, especially football transcends all barriers and fosters unity and national pride. ‘It is very important for young people to know what it means to have the team spirit to be successful. The most important thing in sports as in life is just not winning but accepting defeat and learning from it. The greatest achievement of the human spirit is in rising after a fall and fighting again to win’, he stressed.
According to the PM, football is the most popular sport in Mauritius and arouses deep passion among the population with a great fan base with attention particularly focused on the English Premier League displaying great revelry as in the UK. Being a small country it is not an easy task to be at the forefront of the continental scene, however we qualified once for the African Cup of Nations in 1974 and we won the Indian Ocean Island Games in 1985 and 2003, he observed.
The Prime Minister expressed hope that the holding of the 63rd FIFA Congress in Mauritius will mark a new era for our football. Our medium-term objective is the setting up of a semi-professional league and one day not too far ahead we will be in the World Cup as well, he added.
For his part, FIFA’s President Joseph S. Blatter, said that the Congress marks the yearly gathering of FIFA and represents an annual opportunity for all members of the organisation to meet, to work and take important decisions for the future of FIFA. It is also the occasion to exchange, to update each other, to enjoy being together - not only on the field of play - to socialise, in short to share the same passion for the beautiful game that is football, he pointed out.
Mr Blatter expressed his joy at having brought FIFA Congress to the shores of Mauritius and enjoying the hospitality of a country which he said feels passionately for football. ‘Mauritius symbolises exactly what FIFA stands for: developing the game, especially for the youth, and, through the sport, helping the youth enjoy a healthy life, not only now but when they are mature’, he added.
Issues high on the agenda of the 63rd Congress which takes place today comprise: the election of female member to the executive committee; strategic and sports-political matters (update on decisions passed at the 2012 Congress, the fight against discrimination/racism, match manipulation, refereeing, football development, medical matters); update on reforms based on the 2011 and 2012 congresses; and next congresses.
The 64th FIFA Congress will be held on 10 and 11 June 2014 in São Paulo, Brazil.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website:http://gis.gov.mu