Monday, 9 June 2014

Sepp Blatter bemoans a ‘storm against Fifa’ over Qatar World Cup

64th FIFA Congress 2014 - Press Conference 
Sepp Blatter has bemoaned a “storm against Fifa” over the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar and put the allegations of corruption down to “discrimination and racism” among the world governing body’s critics.

The Fifa president said the allegations “really makes me sad,” and insisted that the Qatar situation would be discussed at the Fifa Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Blatter’s speech to the Confederation of African Football came as BP and Budweiser joined the ranks of World Cup sponsors pressing Fifa to tackle the corruption allegations.

Those calls followed similar statements by Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa and Sony, coinciding with the wrapping up of an inquiry by Fifa’s in-house prosecutor Michael Garcia into the decisions to hold the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 and Russia in 2018.

Garcia will submit his report to Fifa in around six weeks’ time which is roughly a week after the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro on 13 July. Qatar and Russia deny any wrongdoing.

“Once again there is a sort of storm against Fifa relating to the Qatar World Cup,” Blatter said. “Sadly there’s a great deal of discrimination and racism and this hurts me.”

Blatter, 78, who is running for re-election in 2015, told the African delegates in São Paolo that bonuses to African member associations from World Cup profits would be increased, pledging: “It’s for you, for us, for everyone.”

He insisted that age limits for sports administrators was “a form of discrimination,” and appealed to the delegates to support his bid for another term in office. “I still have the passion burning inside me,” he said. “You will tell me yes or no and decide what you want.”

Whether Blatter can withstand the storm that is brewing among Fifa’s major sponsors remains to be seen. “We are concerned about the situation and are monitoring developments; we expect Fifa to take all necessary steps to address the issue,” the brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev said in a statement. Its Budweiser beer has signed up as a World Cup tournament sponsor until 2022.

BP, whose Castrol oil brand is sponsoring the World Cup in Brazil, said it expected Fifa to deal with the issue in a “right and proper manner”.

Sony, Adidas, Visa, Coca-Cola and Hyundai, all members of the top tier of Fifa sponsors, spoke out on Sunday in favour of a thorough investigation of the bribery claims. Of the top-tier sponsors, only Emirates airlines was silent.
(google news)

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