"The growth of football and the increased participation levels in the U.S. have been tremendous and demonstrate the nation's passion for the game. FIFA continues to work tirelessly to support the
global development of the game in partnership with all of our 209 member associations."
-- Statement issued by a FIFA spokeswoman, disowning comments by Francois Carrard
, the recently appointed independent chairman of FIFA's 15-person reform committee, in the Swiss newspaper La Matin Dimanche. Carrard had questioned why American
authorities were investigating corruption in soccer, which he described as "just an ethnic sport for girls in schools" in the United States. (Reuters