Blatter slams 'bad losers'
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has labelled England 'bad losers' following their failed 2018 World Cup bid, also denying corruption allegations.
By James Riach
Last Updated: 08/12/10 7:12pm
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has labelled England 'bad losers' following their failed 2018 World Cup bid.
Russia and Qatar were last week chosen by Fifa's executive committee to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively, with England's bid falling at the first hurdle after only receiving two votes from a possible 22.
The decision has sparked an expected negative reaction up and down the country, with bid chief Andy Anson claiming that the voting process needs to be reformed, saying England were promised votes that never came.
Suggestions have been made that Fifa were influenced by reports of corruption from within the British media, after the Sunday Times revealed that committee members Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii accepted money in return for their votes.
Blatter admits he has been surprised by the response in England, and also criticised the reaction of all losing bidders.
"To be honest, I was surprised by all the English complaining after the defeat. England, of all people, the motherland of fairplay ideas," Blatter told Swiss magazine Weltwoche.
"Now some of them are showing themselves to be bad losers. You can't come afterwards and say so and so promised to vote for England.
"The results are known. The outcome came out clearly.
"I really sense in some reactions a bit of the arrogance of the western world of Christian background. Some simply can't bear it if others get a chance for a change.
"What can be wrong if we start football in regions where this sport demonstrates a potential which goes far beyond sport?"
Anson has suggested that Blatter influenced the executive committee before the vote by reminding them of the negative reports in the British media.
However, Blatter rejected such allegations and denied that there was corruption within the organisation. He added: "There is no systematic corruption in Fifa. That is nonsense. We are financially clean and clear."
He did concede, though, that Fifa would be trying to clean up its image in the light of recent bad press, claiming he wants to set up a taskforce to look into compliance issues.
"We need to improve our image. We also need to clarify some things within Fifa," he remarked.
"Football has become a monster which has to be tamed by Fifa. We do that and we do it well. In particular after the World Cup in Africa because nobody believed in it.
"The awarding of the World Cup has become a political issue. Heads of state pay court to me."
Asked if he would still be Fifa president to open the World Cup in 2022, Blatter said: "Definitely not. If god wills it, I will be invited to the opening party on crutches or in a wheelchair."
England sent Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham to Zurich as part of a final delegation to secure late votes, but their presence was not enough to persuade the executive committee.
And when asked about calls by Cameron for a radical reform of Fifa, Blatter said: "Prime Minister Cameron is heartily invited to make his proposals."