Blatter: World Cup will bring peace

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Published: Friday 20th March 2015 by The News Editor

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter has delivered a warning against a boycott of the 2018 World Cup and insisted the world governing body had every right to move the 2022 tournament to the winter.

Ukraine’s president has called for a boycott of the 2018 tournament in protest at Russian military involvement with pro-Moscow separatists.

Blatter responded by claiming the World Cup could actually help bring peace.

He told a news conference in Zurich: “What is 100 per cent is that the World Cup will take place in Russia in 2018, that’s sure.

“A boycott of the World Cup or any sporting event has never brought any solutions to anybody.

“The European Parliamentary committee is asking for a boycott of the World Cup three or four months ago – it was a boycott of the World Cup in Qatar and now it is the World Cup in Russia.

“In my opinion the World Cup in Russia will be able to stabilise all that region in Europe.”

Blatter said he had been buoyed by IOC president Thomas Bach and German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach coming out against a boycott.

Asked whether FIFA should apologise for the chaos caused by playing the Qatar tournament in winter, Blatter added: “This was a decision taken by executive committee of FIFA, they have a right to do it. If something happened the FIFA ExCo can change so we can also say play in winter.”

FIFA has announced it made a profit of 338million US dollars (£227.2million) over the last four years and now has cash in the bank totalling 1.5billion US dollars (£1billion).

Blatter said reserves that size are needed in case a World Cup, which generates almost all the money for FIFA, had to be moved or postponed.

FIFA has also moved to head off opposition from the clubs over playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the winter by trebling the amount clubs who release players will receive for the tournaments from 70million US dollars (£47.3million) in Brazil last year to 209million US dollars (£141.3million) for Russia and Qatar.

Blatter, 79, is standing for a fifth term of president on May 29 and faces three rivals, but has so far not released a manifesto.

Asked about that issue, he responded: “I am not campaigning, I am doing my job as FIFA president and I will do that until last day of my mandate which was given to me in 2011.

“My manifesto is the work I have done in FIFA – I have now been 40 years in FIFA and 17 years as president of FIFA. This is my manifesto.”

Published: Friday 20th March 2015 by The News Editor

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