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Blatter broadside at 'racist' media


Sepp Blatter launches broadside against the racist British media
Fifa president claims detractors out to ruin the institution
Unity is best way to deal with those who would destroy Fifa
Sepp Blatter has launched an astonishing broadside at the racist British media over what the Fifa president claims are dark forces threatening to destroy world footballs embattled governing body.

Blatter went on the offensive three days before the World Cup starts following a troubled build-up and with Fifa under pressure from the media, politicians and sponsors over new bribery allegations.

We have seen what the British press has published, he told the Asian Football Confederations pre-World Cup gathering in São Paulo. I dont know what the reasoning is behind this but we must maintain unity.

In a routine familiar to those who observed his presidential campaigns the 78-year-old toured meetings of the African and Asian football confederations to denounce the racism of the western media and shore up support for his bid for a fifth term as president.


He claimed that Fifas detractors wanted to destroy, not the game, but they want to destroy the institution and referred to the scandal as Qatar-gate.

Since the Sunday Times published a slew of allegations against the Qatari former Asian Football Confederation president and former Fifa executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam, the Guardian, the Financial Times and the Economist have called for root-and-branch reform. Five of Fifas six major commercial partners Adidas, Visa, Sony, Hyundai and Coca- Cola have also expressed their concern over recent claims and the World Cup sponsors Budweiser and BP have done likewise.

We are concerned about the situation and are monitoring developments. We expect Fifa to take all necessary steps to address the issue, said Anheuser-Busch, Budweisers parent company on Monday.

Blatter said that he was best placed to lead Fifa through the storm.

I still have fire inside me and, if we show unity, that is the best way to deal with those in the world that want to destroy Fifa, he said.

Some of the most recent avalanche of corruption allegations concerning Qatars bid for the 2022 World Cup have detailed payments from Bin Hammam to African officials in the run-up to the vote in 2010.

Once again there is a sort of storm against Fifa relating to the Qatar World Cup. Sadly theres a great deal of discrimination and racism and this hurts me. It really makes me sad, he said, confirming that the latest allegations over Qatar would be discussed at the Fifa Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He said Fifa needed to combat anything that smacks of discrimination and racism.

It is not the first time Blatter has turned on the British media. He is widely believed to have reminded voters on the Fifa executive committee of the evils of the media immediately before they voted on the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Blatter called on the African nations to back his bid to stand again for a fifth term in 2015, despite previously promising to stand down.

I still have the passion burning inside me. You will tell me yes or no and decide what you want, he said. The African delegates responded with applause and a standing ovation.

The African confederation then passed a resolution that condemned the repeated, deliberately hateful, defamatory and degrading attacks by some media, notably British, on the image of the integrity of the Confederation of African Football, its president, its members, its member associations and the entire African continent.

Blatter is highly likely to win a fifth term, with only Uefa openly opposed to him continuing his tenure.

He promised both meetings that he would deliver bonuses based on the profits of the World Cup, boasting that Fifa was in good financial shape at a time when states are in debt and clubs are in debt.

A referendum will be held on the issue of term limits at Fifas Congress on Wednesday but new rules would not be voted on until 2015. Even if they achieved the required 75% of the 209 Fifa members, any current Fifa executives would not be required to stand down for another four years.

Michael Garcia was due to complete his investigation into the chaotic and controversial bidding races for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on Monday. The former New York attorney has promised to hand his findings to the adjudicatory chamber of Fifas executive committee by mid-July.

Blatter said he expected the final verdict to be published in September or October. Qatar, already under pressure over its searing summer temperatures and mistreatment of migrant workers, has insisted that Bin Hammam played no official or unofficial role in its successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

The controversy over the 2018 and 2022 bids has overshadowed the World Cup and there is lingering concern about the logistics of Thursdays opening game between Brazil and Croatia here in São Paulo. Police used tear gas on Monday to disperse protesters backing a metro strike, which left the city gridlocked.
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