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A devilish message from Blatter

Rob Hughes explains that for the first time in a decade, there is a power struggle at the top of FIFA. Sepp Blatter, the 75-year-old Swiss who has been the organization’s president since 1998, will be challenged June 1 by Mohamed bin Hammam, a 61-year-old Qatari.

“Football is corrupted by all little devils which exist in the world,” Blatter said in a speech to European delegates this week. “Don’t forget that football is a game, and that when one is playing, he always tries to cheat a little bit. We have the task of bringing together the adventure we started. We want to ensure a better future for our youth.”

Writes Hughes: "The rhetoric vacillates between bluster and truth: Blatter is a septuagenarian portraying himself on the side of youth. His reference to the devils is a reminder of the corruption that was uncovered last year by journalists during the bidding process that eventually handed the World Cup to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. It might also be interpreted as a better-the-devil-we-know message to the FIFA electorate. ...

"Bin Hammam suggests it is time for fresh blood. Blatter reminds national associations about who gave them their dollar handouts and who is still building up the bank balance in a global recession. The devil is in the details between former allies now playing their end game."

Read the whole story at New York Times »

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