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. @leomessi @cristiano @neymarjr
An emotional few weeks
Dear friends of football,
The fi rst two months of this year have already seen a number of footballing
spectacles and celebrations which have served as a reminder of the global
joy which our game inspires. At the same time, following the recent terrible
events in Egypt, we have also witnessed how that joy can be tarnished.
In January, the leading stars of both the men’s and women’s game
descended upon Zurich for the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2011, an event which
saw Lionel Messi winning FIFA’s top men’s individual honour for the third
consecutive year. On an emotional evening, Japan’s FIFA Women’s World
Cup-winning captain Homare Sawa was crowned Women’s World Player of
the Year, and Sir Alex Ferguson received the Presidential Award in recognition
of his 25 years of continued success at just one club.
In February, I then had the pleasure of travelling to the Gabonese capital,
Libreville, to attend the fi nal of the Africa Cup of Nations, and see Zambia
crowned continental champions for the fi rst time in their history.
While the FIFA Ballon d’Or and Africa Cup of Nations both symbolised the
joie de vivre with which football should always be associated, last month
also showed the dangers to which our game can be exposed. I was deeply
shocked and saddened by the tragic incidents in the Egyptian city of Port
Said and expressed my deepest sympathies to all those affected. At the
same time, I have called for a full report into this black day for football in
order to ensure that such catastrophes can be avoided in the future.
While, sadly, there is still clearly work to be done to ensure that football
stadiums around the world can be viewed purely as places for peaceful
celebrations, we can ........ @fcbarcelona @juventus @psg .... @argentina @brazil
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