The African Union (AU) at its summit in Ethiopia on Monday has declared 2007 as the International Year of African Football.
As the continent's sport governing body - the Confederation of African Football marks the organisation's 50th anniversary, the AU initiative is just one of many activities to mark the anniversary of CAF.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter together with CAF president Issa Hayatou and a host of personalities in world football addressed the 8th African Union (AU) Summit, which has brought together African heads of state and government, in Addis Ababa.
Sepp Blatter's presence was help the AU launch the International Year of African Football and also tie in with South Africa’s hosting of the next FIFA World Cup in 2010.
Addressing the assembled Heads of States, the South African President, Thabo Mbeki said the decision to set aside the year for Football was significant due to the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Africa’s Football governing body, CAF.
He also said it was important for celebration coming at the same period of Ghana’s Independence celebrations and to thank FIFA, especially its President Sepp Blatter, for ensuring that the World Cup finally was hosted in Africa.
Blatter reveal details of the 'Win in Africa with Africa' project, an initiative designed to help the entire continent to benefit from South Africa's hosting of the 2010 World Cup.
The FIFA President emphasised that "for FIFA and the whole world, taking the FIFA World Cup to Africa is practically a moral obligation to African football and to the African people."
Blatter also appealed to African governments and the international community to get behind the development of Africa and proposed football as the vehicle for educational, social and health initiatives and as a tool in the fight against discrimination so as to reinforce national unity.
For his part, CAF President Issa Hayatou paid homage to all those who have fought for African football in the past 50 years in order to secure it the place it deserves.