Issued 29 May, 2008
FIFA Congress opens at Sydney Opera House
The eyes of the sporting world will be on Sydney Opera House today when more than 1,000 of the most influential figures in international football attend the 58th FIFA Congress Opening Ceremony.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Football Federation Australia Chairman Frank Lowy will join delegates from each of the 208 FIFA member nations for a spectacular performance in the Concert Hall, followed by gala banquet in a purpose-built marquee on the Forecourt.
Sydney Opera House Chief Executive, Richard Evans, said the fact that the iconic Australian venue was chosen to host the highly prestigious event was indicative of its status as a global landmark.
“Being selected as the venue for one of the most important events in international sport is a fantastic achievement and everyone at Sydney Opera House is proud to be involved”, Mr Evans said.
“Not only is Sydney Opera House Australia’s busiest performing arts centre and a major tourist destination, we are also experts in staging major international events.
“The Concert Hall has been transformed with one of the largest sets ever to have been used in the venue and it is the first time in the history of Sydney Opera House that a function for more than 1,000 people has taken place on the Forecourt.
“Everyone working on this event is committed to dazzling the FIFA Congress members with an experience they will remember for years to come.”
Sydney Opera House is no stranger to hosting events of global stature. In September 2007 it was the main venue for APEC Australia 2007, the most significant political meeting ever hosted in Australia. In six weeks, it will be a major venue for World Youth Day 2008, the largest gathering of young people in the world.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is football’s governing body and the annual FIFA Congress is the largest off-field event for the world game. The Congress is the legislative body which has overall responsibility for developing the game and represents more member countries than the United Nations.