Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Run against Blatter or shut up, Dortmund CEO says


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BERLIN: Opponents of FIFA President Sepp Blatter should run against him instead of merely criticising his decision to go for another term at the helm of world soccer’s governing body, Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said on Friday.
Watzke also told Reuters in an interview it would be best not to hold the 2022 World Cup in the desert state of Qatar. The 78-year-old Blatter, who heads FIFA since 1998, announced this week he would run for a fifth term despite mounting criticism over alleged corruption and FIFA’s decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Blatter, who will be 79 when the votes are cast next June, confirmed his candidature for another term as president in a recorded interview at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester this week.
“We have to be a bit careful with criticism here,” said Dortmund’s Watzke. “If there are people out there who consider a fifth term as too long or that he is too old for this position then they should run against Blatter.”
European soccer boss Michel Platini was seen as a potential rival to Blatter but he opted not to run against him next year.
The only other declared candidate is the former FIFA deputy secretary general Jerome Champagne but might be cancelled now Blatter has declared his interest. “Otherwise I would be a bit more reserved with criticism,” said Watzke, who has not hidden his opposition to FIFA’s decision to award the World Cup to Qatar.
FIFA is now considering staging the tournament in the winter due to the soaring summer temperatures in the Middle East with European clubs not relishing the prospect of a disrupted league competition that year. “That (date) needs to be discussed internally but it is a problem,” said the 55-year-old Watzke of the World Cup in Qatar.
“My opinion is that it would be best for all if the World Cup would not take place in Qatar.” (Reuters)


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