SAO PAULO (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter fancifully suggested that soccer could one day be played on other planets when he made his opening address to delegates at the start of its 64th Congress on Wednesday.
Making his opening remarks to delegates from all of FIFA’s 209 member nations, before his presidential address later in the day, he told them of the impact football can have in the world, before looking into the future.
“We are still in our reform process but we are at the end,” he said.
”Our basic values of football of discipline, respect and fair play could be brought in everywhere in the world then we would have realised our objective but our objective never finishes.
“From north to west to east and south ... and we shall wonder if one day our game is played on other planets and then one day we won’t have the World Cup, we will have interplanetary contests.”
Blatter’s light-hearted remarks came at the start of what is likely to be a hugely important Congress with FIFA embroiled in a number of crises one day before the start of the World Cup which has itself been dogged by controversy.
“These are important times for FIFA,” Blatter said.
”The world is changing and the game must change with it. It is our duty to keep football going forward but also to keep our governance and control bodies installed.
”Our duty is not only to develop the game, it is also to ensure integrity of the game and protect the game, the game of the people. We shall be proud to see the impact of the game on our world.
“Football is not just a game, it is a multi-billion dollar business. I don’t know if that is good or not. It creates controversial situations and then some difficulties. In this changing world little is beyond the reach of politics and economics.”
Reporting by Mike Collett; editing by Justin Palmer