Blatter under fire as Brazil World Cup opening approaches
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As the final preparations are made for the 2014 football World Cup, temperatures are rising … and so are tempers. Fifa boss Sepp Blatter has lashed out at the media over the Qatar 2022 controversy and metro workers have given organisers a scare.
Just days before another turn of the biggest football show on earth, controversy stalks the plains.
Blatter, the head of world cup organisers Fifa, has lambasted the media - particularly the British lot - over its aggressive campaign to find out what exactly happened in the prelude to the vote for the 2018 and 2022 world cups.
Qatar was chosen to stage the extravaganza back in 2010, its unique selling point being that playing football in the summer in Qatar in temperatures racing towards 50 degrees wouldn’t be a problem. The venues would have state-of-the-art air conditioning systems.
There were a few sceptics over the health issues.
And many more over how a nation with no footballing pedigree and a fluid approach to human rights could surge in front of Britain and Australia to claim the prize.
An inquiry into alleged corruption is underway.
Those findings are due to be released after the 2014 tournament. But the affair has cast a shadow over what should effectively be the greatest party of them all - the football World Cup in football-mad Brazil.
Only Brazil isn’t as football-mad as we believe.
Protests and demonstrations over the expense have plagued the build-up.
A metro strike in Sao Paulo which stages the opening game on Thursday also gave organisers a scare.
Blatter’s been told by one administrator from a European governing body that he shouldn’t stand again to be president.
You’re 79, man, some of your top executives are swamped by allegations of corruption, and the Brazil thing has been a mess – was the gist of the complaint.
The Swiss supremo may or may not yet claim rank ageism over those remarks. For the moment, though, he’s playing another card.
The allegations over the Qatar bid have been motivated by racism, he claims.
"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."
But it might not extend to just the British media. The Brazilians might be indulging in a few of their own regional prejudices.
In a hotel in Natal the owners clearly wanting to make everyone feel welcome, have put up a video grab of several national flags.
There’s Ghana with its Black Star…the US one with its Stars and Stripes and there’s the Mexican flag with a horticultural addition – a marijuana leaf …
… which doesn’t put in an appearance on the actual Mexican flag.
The heat’s clearly gone to someone’s head. Or perhaps someone’s made a simple error. Or perhaps Sepp and the Fifa broederbond should get up to Natal because perhaps someone’s really is being ganjatastically racist.
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