POSTED: May 23rd 2011

FIFA's Blatter follows gymnastics in votes of confidence for Japan's recovery effort

Sepp Blatter: FIFA president facing re-election vote /
Sepp Blatter: FIFA president facing re-election vote /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON, May 23: Japan's efforts to rebuild both buildings and morale have been encouraged by confirmation that football's Club World Cup and the artistic gymnastics world championships will go ahead as scheduled there later this year.

More than 12,000 people were killed and three times as many were injured and made homeless on March 11 by earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Additional uncertainty over conditions locally was created by the fracturing of the Fukishima nuclear plant in north-eastern Japan.

Since then sports officials have worked hard to reassure international federations that maintaining their plans to bring events to Japan would assist the recovery work and help the nation put life 'back to normal' as quickly as possible in the circumstances.

First to declare for Japan was the  FIG Council which decided, at ca meeting in San Jose, California, to confirm the staging of the 43rd Artistic Gymnastics World Championships between October 7 and 16 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

FIG president Bruno Grandi said utmost consideration had been given to proper care to the health and security of gymnasts and delegations and to an experts' evaluation of the situation in Japan.

That was welcomed by Hidenori Futagi, president of the Japanese Gymnastics Association. He described it as "a moving gesture of solidarity and encouragement for the Japanese people as a whole; a decision worthy of the international Gymnastics family."

FIFA assistance

World football federation president Sepp Blatter followed up during his visit to Tokyo today. Blatter, who is seeking re-election for another four-year term next month, announced a programme of support measures including confirmation of the Club World Cup scheduling in December.

Blatter made his announcements after meetings with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Sports Minister Yoshiaki Takaki and JFA president Junji Ogura.

Expressing "the sympathy of the football family for all the victims of the tsunami and the people of Japan" and complimenting the Japanese people on their courage and dignity, Blatter said he was sure they would “organise a fantastic event” in December.

Details of the support measures will follow Thursday's meeting of FIFA’s finance committee. But Blatter did say that three Goal projects – each worth $500,000 – would help rebuild the JFA’s damaged J.League medical centre and football academy.

Keywords · Japan · gymnastics · Blatter · Club World Cup

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