Sepp Blatter presents the late Nelson Mandela the World Cup trophy in South Africa during a meeting in 2008.
Sepp Blatter presents the late Nelson Mandela the World Cup trophy in South Africa during a meeting in 2008.
Alet van Huyssteen/HO Nelson Mandela Foundation/AP

COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter says FIFA is in mourning after the death of Nelson Mandela.

He released a statement saying the former South Africa president was ''probably one of the greatest humanists of our time.''

Blatter said he and Mandela ''shared an unwavering belief in the extraordinary power of football to unite people in peace and friendship.''

One of Mandela's last major public appearances was during the closing ceremony of the 2010 South Africa World Cup.

Blatter is in Brazil for Friday's World Cup draw that determines who and where the 32 nations will play next year.

FIFA's president said the flags of the 209 member associations at FIFA's headquarters will be flown at half-mast and there will be a minute's silence before the next round of international matches.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.