UN praise for Fifa boss Blatter

UNITED Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has commended Fifa for its decision to bring the 2010 World Cup to Africa.

The message was delivered to Fifa president Sepp Blatter in Vanderbijlpark yesterday by Ban's special adviser on sports development and peace, Willi Lemke.

Lemke is one of the dignitaries attending Fifa's Football for Hope Forum, which is also being attended by local and global representatives of NGOs. "For us as the UN, it is a tremendous good decision by Fifa to bring the World Cup to this wonderful country," said Lemke.

"After the (Beijing) Olympics, I was invited to a breakfast meeting by secretary general Ban, who asked me to inform Mr Blatter that the United Nations fully supports you. We will do everything in our power to support you (Fifa) because the World Cup is the most important thing that will take place in Africa next year.

"Sports is not only about winning a gold medal, but it helps to teach the essential values of life. It is also so nice to see that more women are now playing football."

Advisory chairperson of German soccer outfit Werder Bremen, Lemke also urged Fifa not to forget people with disabilities in their projects.

Besides Blatter, other dignitaries at yesterday's event included Irvin Khoza and former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe.