FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter was in Phuket

15 September 2009 – President of FIFA Joseph S. Blatter arrived Phuket International Airport last night (September 14) at 09.30 pm.

Blatter’s three-day visit to Thailand is set during September 14-16. He was in Phuket this morning to chair the opening ceremony of a tsunami memorial football center at Baan Ao Nam Bor School before leaving Phuket to Bangkok with his private jet to attend a welcome dinner hosted by government at 06.30 pm.


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    Over 120 Phuket children, some of whom lost their parents in the 2004 Tsunami, were the special guests at a new football training facility that was officially opened by
    Joseph Sepp Blatter, the Federation International Football Association or FIFA President and Worawi Makudi, the Football Association of Thailand President, last Tuesday 15 September.
    The Tsunami Memorial Football Centre at Ban Ao Nam Bor School near Cape Panwa on the east coast of Phuket was the first project to be inaugurated in 2006 from a joint FIFA & Asian Football Confederation or AFC fund of 11 million dollars set up in the wake of the tsunami tragedy which caused widespread destruction along the coasts bordering the Indian Ocean.
    Worawi made the 1st welcoming and thank you speech in front of the new clubhouse:
    Then Paiboon Upattising, Chairman of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisaation or PPAO, also spoke in Thai, promising to take good care of the new facility, so it is fully utilized and becomes a lasting legacy to Phuket.
    Then Mr Blatter spoke to the appreciative assembled audience about how world football charity events, including a special match between superstar teams lead by Shevchenko and Ronaldinho, was used as a tool for social change, to express solidarity and hope for tsunami hit countries, which he had also expressed when he first came here 3 years ago.
    Mr Blatter signed and presented commemorative footballs to several students of 10 local Phuket schools represented, as they will primarily benefit from these excellent facilities, but also children from southern provinces.
    Then the formal opening was marked with a ribbon cutting moment
    and the unveiling of a plaque inside, incidentally saying ‘in the presence of the Phuket Governor’ who did not appear.
    The FIFA president & other VIPs then went walkabout onto the grass pitches, which needed more than expected work and funds to reduce subsidence and flooding during the construction period.
    The Tsunami Memorial Football Centre in Phuket received 950,000 US Dollars or about 33 million baht towards the construction.
    On the pitch, they posed for several photos with the lucky kids and
    Mr Blatter also met with foreign tourist police volunteers in Phuket, who want to also raise funds for other football projects, along with their normal security duties.
    The FIFA president also posed with members of the PPAO and Wichit Municipality who will manage the new facility,
    on behalf of the kids and young players who will come to train or play here. There’s no doubt young Thais have talents in football but lack the necessary facilities and guidance from experienced coaches to turn that talent into FIFA World Cup qualification. Thailand is currently ranked 115th in the world but the Thai FA still aim to be among the qualifying finalists of the World Cup (in Brazil) in 2014 when some of these kids may be old enough to play there.
    We suggested Mr Blatter encourage the kids with a short kick around and he duly obliged, showing some of the skills he still has from his Swiss club playing days many years ago. Even if he is the most powerful man in world football, he still knows how to play the ‘beautiful game’ … in a smart suit on ….a hot day.
    The kids, all dressed in cooler ‘football for hope’ t-shirts, waved us off the pitch.
    At a press conference afterwards, Mr Blatter also explained he was going to meet the Thai Prime Minister later that day to discuss Thailand’s bids to host the Futsal World Championship and the FIFA Congress in 2012, which may bring delegates to Phuket;
    Worawi also confirmed this Phuket facility would primarily be for children of tsunami hit provinces;
    but this new pitch was already used for the Phuket International Soccer 7s tournament last year and again will host this year’s tournament over the last 2 weekends in November, so fit expats here & in Asia can also enjoy FIFA’s quality surface.

    (TAPE STOPS HERE: I also asked if the Thai national team would come train here and if he has agreed on their new manager, tipped to be ex England & Man Utd captain Bryan Robson:
    “..Yes & no..”
    He also confirmed to us England’s team would be invited to play a friendly in Thailand, hopefully with a stopover here:
    Finally Mr Blatter told us of his hopes for the first World Cup to be held in South Africa next year:
    “…everything is ready…”
    Lets hope these youngsters who met Mr Blatter here will now get better chances to take Thailand to the FIFA World Cups in future. ‘Chai Yo!’)

    Special Report for Andaman News NBT TV (VHF dial) at 8.30am & perhaps repeats on Phuket Cable TV channel 1 at 3.30pm, 7pm, 1.30am & 6.30am, broadcast to Phang Nga, Krabi & Phuket provinces & maybe Mazz Radio FM108 at 7pm in Phuket, Friday 18 September & <a href="” target=”_blank”><a href="” target=”_blank”> & <a href="” target=”_blank”><a href="” target=”_blank”> Send comments to

  • Watched the match between England and USA. Too bad it was a draw. lol Wondering if there will be more tie matches??


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