Friday, July 07, 2006

The Home Stretch...

Thursday was the sixth anniversary of the announcement in Zurich of the decision to award the FIFA World Cup 2006 to Germany. As dawn approached, it was time to leave Munich where we witnessed the last of the semi-finals and return to Berlin for the wrap up meetings of the FIFA Referees' Committee and the Organizing Committee for the FIFA World Cup. (Pictured here are Lennart Johansson and Julio Grondona, Chairman & Vice Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the FIFA World Cup.)

Due to the noon start for the Referees meeting, the rest of us were obligated to make the same early morning charter departing the Franz Josef Strauss Airport. Early mornings after late nights are never easy, but the flight had us back in plenty of time to check my son Jason into the hotel upon our arrival. He had joined us in Munich 24 hours earlier only 9 days after my newest grandson Logan's debut.

Mary Lynn, Jason and I had a quick lunch and then I set off for the Organizing Committee meeting while they were energized to see what could be found in these final days in the streets of the German capital.

The meeting, starting promptly at 1400 hours at the Adlon Hotel's 2nd level meeting salon opened with a few remarks from Chairman Johansson on how well things have gone. Urs Linsi then called the role of the Committee noting only two absences from Berlin that day. We moved right into the Agenda with reports by Jim Brown, Director of Competitions on Match Results; Ticketing & Hospitality by FIFA Vice President David Will; Refereeing by FIFA VP Angel Maria Villar Llona; Appointments of Match Commissioners for the two remaining matches; a report by the Technical Study Group, offered by Holger Osiek; a report on Marketing & TV matters by FIFA Director of Marketing and TV, Jerome Valcke; Markus Ziegler reported on Media Matters; followed by Drs. Michel D'Hooghe and Jiri Dvorak on Medical matters; and finally a report by Disciplinary Committee Chairman Marcel Mathier.

The LOC (Local Organizing Committee) then had its chance to report with Franz Beckenbauer leading off, followed by Horst R. Schmidt. After some comments regarding our next meeting, the President wrapped up the session offering the concensus of the members in complimenting the work of the LOC and FIFA's bodies. Blatter then made special presentations to Beckenbauer, Schmidt, Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder, President of the German Football Federation and to Lennart Johansson and Julio Grondona.

As we left the room, the LOC presented each member of the meeting a personalized commemorative glass sculpture with their thanks. The night would bring us together at the Gala Dinner of the Local Organizing Committee being held at the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin. No more meetings here. That aspect is concluded.

No comments: