The
international football community has today learnt the sad news of the
passing of former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner
Nelson Mandela.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter: “It is in deep
mourning that I pay my respects to an extraordinary person, probably one
of the greatest humanists of our time and a dear friend of mine: Nelson
Rolihlahla Mandela.

“He and I shared an unwavering belief in the
extraordinary power of football to unite people in peace and
friendship, and to teach basic social and educational values as a school
of life. When he was honoured and cheered by the crowd at
Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on 11 July 2010, it was as a man of
the people, a man of their hearts, and it was one of the most moving
moments I have ever experienced. For him, the World Cup in South Africa
truly was “a dream come true”.

“Nelson Mandela will stay in our
hearts forever. The memories of his remarkable fight against oppression,
his incredible charisma and his positive values will live on in us and
with us. As a mark of respect and mourning, the flags of the 209
member associations at the Home of FIFA will be flown at half-mast and
there will be a minute’s silence before the next round of international
matches.”

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