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Tue 10 Jun 2014 10:30 AM

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Blatter blasts Qatar World Cup criticism as "racist"

President launched a scathing attack on those he said were "plotting to destroy" world soccer's governing body

Blatter blasts Qatar World Cup criticism as "racist"
FIFA president Sepp Blatter. (Getty Images)

FIFA president Sepp Blatter launched a scathing attack on those he said were "plotting to destroy" world soccer's governing body, and branded some of the criticism of the Qatar World Cup award for 2022 as racist.

Blatter was addressing delegates of the African and Asian confederations at their extraordinary congresses ahead of FIFA's annual congress which starts here on Tuesday.

The African congress, which declared its "continued support" for Blatter, who intends to run for a fifth term as president next year, also passed a resolution condemning what it called the British media's racist attack on its officials.

Blatter's comment came in the wake of a series of fresh allegations made by Britain's Sunday Times newspaper about the award of the Cup to Qatar and rumblings from sponsors who are unhappy with the current trouble FIFA is facing.

Blatter, without defining who "they" were, told Asian delegates "they want to destroy us; they don't want to destroy football, but they want to destroy the institution (FIFA)".

He got a standing ovation when he told the delegates to "show unity in FIFA".

Earlier on Monday, Blatter spoke to delegates at the African Congress and without naming names described attacks on the Qatar World Cup as "racist".

The Sunday Times over the last two weeks has published a series of articles expanding on allegations that the former president of the Asian Confederation, Mohamed Bin Hammam, had used money from secret slush funds to help win votes and support for the Qatari World Cup bid.

Qatar denies the allegations and says it was not connected to Bin Hammam.

Qatar was awarded the World Cup by the FIFA executive committee in December 2010, beating rival bids from the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

However, the Sunday Times made new allegations that Bin Hammam specifically targeted African soccer officials and Issa Hayatou, the president of the African Confederation, to help create a groundswell of opinion in favour of the Qatari bid.

Blatter said: "Once again there is a sort of storm against FIFA relating to the Qatar World Cup. Sadly there's a great deal of discrimination and racism and this hurts me."

Hayatou, approached by Reuters in the lobby of Sao Paulo's Grand Hyatt Hotel after the congress, said: "I am very content with what president Blatter said. We support him, and I was very happy with what he told the delegates."

In the wake of the problems facing FIFA, five of FIFA's six major sponsors have expressed their displeasure over the situation.

Sportswear maker Adidas, which has been associated with FIFA since the 1950s, said in a statement on Sunday: "The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners."

Monday's developments coincided with Michael Garcia, the head of FIFA's investigatory chamber of their Ethics Committee, concluding his report on alleged corruption surrounding FIFA officials, which has taken him two years to complete.

He will submit the report to German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, the head of the Ethics Committee's adjudicatory chamber, in around six weeks.

If he finds corruption, soccer officials say Qatar could be stripped of the Cup.

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who2 6 years ago

when you have no leg to stand on, no argument against facts and when you are protecting yourself, the maxim to always apply is that the best form of attack is always defence.

Shout the "R" word and run away.
FIFA is just shameful.

Non-Muslim 6 years ago

Blatter blasts Qatar World Cup criticism as "racist"?
Blatter STILL does not get it!
And now even Germany's legendary Kaiser Beckenbauer is under attack, because he seems to have refused cooperation even with the FIFA internal corruption commission (he is reported to have left questions unanswered)...

Me2 6 years ago

No, Mr Blatter - you and your cronies are the ones destroying FIFA. Your desperation is starting to show - you've been caught out, you have no credible defense - so time to bring out the 'racist' card and conspiracy theories.

Me2 6 years ago

My thoughts exactly - just better put!

chalky6766 6 years ago

Could not agree more, well said!

leo50 6 years ago

"they want to destroy us; they don't want to destroy football, but they want to destroy the institution (FIFA)".

FIFA have done enough by themselves to destroy the game of football. They have done nothing to maintain the game as a spectacle that was played and enjoyed by countless millions of people, where wealth or even the possession of boots, ball or pitches was irrelevant to those that loved football at all levels. Now we have a professional game populated by squealing, diving, over-over-paid young men with no contact with their fanbase, and will have even less in the future as this so-called game prices out ever more people around the world.
FIFA allowed rules to be ignored and allowed what we see today; shirt-tugging and grabbing, arguing with referees, linesmen, and imaginary card waving as an attribute to make the first team. Look at the respect given to Rugby referees as opposed to the total disrespect attained by soccer referees. Concentrate on the game, not the profit.

GoodToGo 6 years ago

Anyone who still takes Blatter seriously has himself to blame. The guy is a joke...and a bad one to boot.

moonboy 6 years ago

Absolutely, Blatter's position has been untenable for some time. What has he done to eradicate racism in football apart from giving lip service to it. Frighteningly his eventual successor looks likely to be Platini who is no better than Blatter for his contempt of the position he holds.

In any event Blatter has previously said that it was a mistake to award Qatar the rights to hold the WC2022. Now he is saying that anyone who points the finger at his defunkt FIFA is doing so because or racism, even though he himself that it was a mistake to give it to Qatar.

Where is the consistency Sepp?
The mind boggles!

Ronald 6 years ago

Blatter is pulling the cheap race card to conceal the towering corruption that makes Fifa so rich. There is no racism against the Swiss despot, the discrimination is against the corrupt and since that seems to be the culture at Fifa, so be it.
South Africa will pay heavily for decades for its corrupt officials accepting bribes from Fifa and foisting the loss-making WC on the country, building stadia instead of housing, getting zero in return for Blatter's jack boots walking all over the country.