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FIFA statement after the events in the USA

Zurich, 12 September 2001 - After the tragic events of 11 September in the USA, FIFA is as shocked as the rest of the world. In letters such as the one sent to the US Soccer Federation, FIFA has conveyed its deepest condolences to those involved in the tragedy on behalf of the international football family. The flags at FIFA House in Zurich are flying at half-mast as a mark of respect.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, the question has been raised as to whether sporting or cultural events should be postponed or cancelled out of respect and sympathy for the victims and their families.

In its position as world football's governing body, and the organiser of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan FIFA is directly confronted by this delicate issue, with four games scheduled to be played this weekend in Asia alone as the qualification tournaments reach their conclusion. FIFA is of the opinion that despite the horrific events in New York and Washington, all upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying matches should be played, providing that the safety of everyone involved can be guaranteed. The FIFA U-17 World Championship in Trinidad and Tobago will also begin, as planned, on 13 September, providing that the government of the host nation confirms all of the necessary security guarantees. With these decisions in mind, FIFA fully supported UEFA's decision not to postpone the Champions League matches on the evening of 11 September.

Moreover, in a telephone conversation with the FIFA President this morning, IOC President Jacques Rogge confirmed that both the Mediterranean Games in Tunisia and the South East Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur would go ahead as planned.

"This stance represents our determination to ensure that football does not capitulate in the face of violence", said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, in Zurich today. "In tragic circumstances such as these, football must symbolise the ideals of Fair Play and non-violence, and encourage people to respect the dignity of each and every human being. The world today is no longer the one we knew. But football must remain a beacon of hope."

FIFA will continue to follow events carefully.