FIFA president Sepp Blatter pays tribute to Nelson Mandela
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has paid tribute to Nelson Mandela after the death of the former South African president.
Last Updated: 05/12/13 11:42pm
Blatter hailed the 95-year-old's impact on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He said there would be a minute's silence as a mark of respect ahead of the next round of international matches.
Blatter said in a statement: "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 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."
The news of Mandela's death casts a shadow over the World Cup draw which will be held in Brazil on Friday and FIFA will make special arrangements ahead of the ceremony.