FIFA unveils new US$200 million headquarters
FIFA celebrated the official opening of its new headquarters on Tuesday on the eve of its annual congress. The eight-floor building of stone and glass took three years to erect and cost some 240 million Swiss francs (US$200 million; euro150 million).
Inside are offices, conference rooms, a sports center, a 210-seat auditorium and an oversized football containing a "time capsule" full of items from every FIFA member country.
"The Home of FIFA is your home - come on in," FIFA President Sepp Blatter told delegates during the opening ceremony. "It has been built on a foundation stone that contains earth from your home countries, so it is actually on your ground. We couldn't have wished for more solid foundations."
The ceremony was not attended by one of FIFA's vice presidents elect, John McBeth, whose appointment this week was suspended due to remarks he reportedly made about corruption in African and Caribbean associations.
FIFA said Monday the Scottish FA president will have to face its ethics panel and that his seat on the executive committee will remain vacant until then.
One of the delegates on Tuesday included Hussain Saeed Mohammed, president of the Iraqi soccer federation.
"It's our hope that we can unite the Iraqi people under football, despite the very difficult political, economic and security situation now in Iraq," he said. "We are proud that our team is still able to continue under these circumstances." FIFA's 57th annual congress starts on Wednesday.