World Congress
Portuguese President pays tribute to FIVB
Porto, Portugal, May 12, 2004 – The President of the Republic of Portugal Dr. Jorge Sampaio honoured the 29th FIVB World Congress when he delivered a message of goodwill in person on the morning of the first session in Porto, Portugal on Wednesday.

Dr. Sampaio, speaking in front of the Volleyball family representing the 218 national federations of the largest sports federation in the world, expressed his conviction that sport is the ideal avenue for a better life and said the FIVB is a role model in this field.

“In this present world, filled with tension, conflict and disquiet, in which rules sometimes seem to be ignored, we feel the need that sport continues to give us its message of fair-play, tolerance and universalism,” Dr. Sampaio said. “I am certain that the International Volleyball Federation pursues this aim and will be able to give a significant contribution.”

Dr Sampaio, who at 64-years of age still competes in marathons, said it was an honour to attend the FIVB Congress for several reasons.

“In a time, in which the media communication – at sport level – is more and more dominated by football, it is with great pleasure that I am with you today.

“Since it is the first time that our Country has the honour to welcome this highly important meeting of the International Volleyball Federation, it is with particular satisfaction that I officiate this opening session where the Portuguese language was chosen as official language.

“The Portuguese language unites a diversity of nations, encountering a multiplicity of rich cultural identities. Portuguese is a language spoken by 200 million people, thus connecting countries of several continents in to a community that we wish to reinforce and in which the sport acts as a strong link.

“Your decision enriches the International Volleyball Federation and recognizes with justice the importance and the universalism of the Portuguese language.”

Dr. Sampaio also complimented the decision earlier in the Congress to affiliate East Timor as the most recent member of the International Volleyball Federation.

The President of Portugal commented that this has particularly significance for all those who fought for many years for East Timor’s self-determination.