Blatter to visit Cayman

The Cayman Islands Football Association has secured an exclusive visit from FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter, the most powerful man in world football.

home of CIFA

The centre is magnificent. Photo: Submitted

He will be visiting Cayman between June 4-6 to officially open the new ‘Home of CIFA’ at the Cayman Islands Centre for Excellence in Prospect.

Blatter has become one of the most influential figures in world sport in his ten years as FIFA president.

Also a member of the International Olympic Committee, he is of the most respected and revered figures in world sport and has cemented football’s place as the biggest sport in the world.

He is recognised by Time as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, and has been awarded the International Humanitarian of the Year Award and Golden Charter of Peace and Humanitarianism by the International Humanitarian League for Peace and Tolerance.

Under the philosophy of ‘all for football, football for all,’ Blatter has ensured that football has not become dominated purely by the men’s game, and has raised the standards of football across the board through the introduction of youth and women’s World Cups.

He sums up his passion for the game succinctly: ‘Football is synonymous with theatre and entertainment and is hence an object of unequalled fascination for the media. It can even spark artistic creativity… but it is above all an endless source of passion and joy. It is physical movement that simultaneously moves the emotions. It is the most popular and talked-about game in the world.’

One of the most influential yet little-known initiatives of Blatter’s Presidency has been the FIFA Goal Project; a charitable arm to FIFA which provides infrastructure, equipment, and education to smaller nations with the aim of levelling the playing field of international football.

It is this charitable body that has part-funded the development of the first two phases of the Cayman Centre for Excellence.

The Centre is a long-term vision of CIFA President Jeffrey Webb to provide the Cayman Islands with state-of-the-art training facilities, raising the standards of local football and providing young Caymanian players with international quality facilities to develop their technical and tactical ability.

The 17-acre development will feature the Home of CIFA, a new administrative Centre for the Cayman Islands Football Association, three international standard football pitches, as well as a dormitory, gym, changing rooms and an audio/visual centre for the technical development of our national teams.

Ground was broken last June by Alden McLaughlin Jr, Minister for Sports, Webb and FIFA Development Officer Harold Taylo.

This first phase of the project will provide CIFA with a designated home for the first time in its history.

In December, construction began on the first of three playing fields. The FIFA Goal Bureau has partnered with CIFA in the development of both projects, and Blatter has taken considerable interest in the project due to his close ties with Webb.

Blatter’s visit is set to include a gala dinner to mark the occasion. The 2009 Annual CIFA Dinner for Excellence will feature a live auction of football memorabilia from around the world in an effort to raise funds for the Centre for Excellence.

Jack Warner, CONCACAF president and a FIFA vice-president, is also expected to attend.

CIFA has invited several football icons from around the world to attend the event, including Michel Platini, the President of UEFA, and former World Player of the Year Franz Beckenbauer. Only limited seats are available for the CIFA Dinner for Excellence.

Webb said: ‘This is a huge honour that President Blatter will be present at the inauguration and the CIFA Gala Dinner for Excellence.

‘Blatter has been an inspirational leader in his time in office, and through his vision and guidance he has built a new FIFA, based on transparency and solidarity.

‘He has taken genuine interest in the development of the Cayman Islands Centre for Excellence. It is a tremendous opportunity for the Cayman community and the CIFA football family to host Blatter, Warner of CONCACAF and other members of the international football family.’