Soccer

Blatter vows to improve FIFA

2011-12-04 19:11
Sepp Blatter (File)

Geneva - FIFA President Sepp Blatter spoke on Sunday of his mission to improve the image of the international soccer body knocked by corruption and bribery claims.

The Swiss, re-elected unopposed earlier this year, said he had no plans to quit while there was work to do restoring FIFA's reputation.

"I cannot go now. I haven't finished my mission. The organisation's image needs to be improved," he said in an interview with Le Matin Dimanche.

Blatter, who recently found himself at the centre of a storm over comments he made on racism, said: "An institution that saves lives, that helps people, that provokes emotions, is being consistently put down."

FIFA came in for some harsh press after the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights, awarded last year to Russia and Qatar, was tainted by corruption allegations.

The body also suffered after presidential hopeful, Asian football chief Mohamed bin Hammam, was banned from the sport over bribery claims.

Blatter was forced to defend himself last month following his suggestion that disputes on the pitch involving racist abuse should be resolved by a handshake.

The remarks were decried as "appalling" by both British Prime Minister David Cameron and English star David Beckham.

England's Premier League has been rocked by high-profile investigations into alleged on-pitch racism by England captain John Terry and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

Blatter was asked in Sunday's interview why the British press "hated" him and cited the country's failure to secure the 2018 World Cup.

"When they came here, with Beckham, Prince William, and the Prime Minister (David) Cameron, they were sure of winning," he said.

"Since then, they have been looking for any means to justify their defeat."

Read more on:    international soccer  |  sepp blatter
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