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FIFA chief Blatter recalls Samaranch's contribution in soccer

2010-04-22 13:52 BJT

GENEVA, April 21 (Xinhua) -- FIFA chief Joseph Blatter mourned the death of Juan Antonio Samaranch on Wednesday, praising the former International Olympic Committe president a pioneer in promoting women's soccer.

The Belgian said the international football community is in mourning following the death of the 89-year-old Samaranch, and recalled the Spaniard's contribution to soccer.

"I met Juan Antonio when I started to work for FIFA, over 35 years ago, and I can vouch for the fact that he was a great football fan and supported this beautiful game with genuine enthusiasm," Blatter told FIFA's official website.

"I remember that in 1996 he was responsible for bringing women's football into the Olympic Movement, one of the most important landmarks in the history of the discipline.

"I always held him in great esteem and admired his extraordinary character," he added. "We worked tenaciously together in support of transparency and fair play and our efforts came to fruition with the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency."

"What we will remember most of all will be his great sense of commitment, his courage and his desire to safeguard sport and its values and to make it a universal virtue."

Samaranch, who's in charge of the IOC from 1980 to 2001, died Wednesday in his home city Barcelona, due to heart failure.

Editor: Su Yu | Source: Xinhua