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The Football World Pays Its Respects To Nelson Mandela

Fri 6th Dec 2013 | Football Governance

The Football world paid its respects following the passing of former South Africa President, Nelson Mandela yesterday.

FIFA President Blatter expressed his deepest sympathy at the loss of the iconic figure and hailed Mandela. “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 said.

"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.”

Margaret Byrne, chief executive at Sunderland AFC, a Legacy Advocate for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, recently travelled to Johannesburg with officials from the club to mark the opening of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, expressed her sadness at the news. "We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mr Mandela, a truly great man.

"The thoughts of everyone at Sunderland AFC are with the family of Mr Mandela, our friends and colleagues at the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the people of South Africa."

Manchester United legend, Sir Bobby Charlton said in a tweet from the club’s official Twitter account, "His legacy will live on way beyond our lifetime. I feel privileged to have met him. God bless my friend, Madiba."

FA Chairman Greg Dyke, who himself met Mandela, said: "Nelson Mandela had that amazing ability to live through real injustice.

"He was one of the greatest men of any generation. Partly because of what he achieved but more so for his ability to forgive."

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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