FIFA President Sepp Blatter Criticizes EPL Clubs For Playing Too Many Foreign Players
FIFA President Sepp Blatter "has criticised Premier League teams for holding back the England team by playing too many foreign players in key positions," according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH. Blatter said that while he admired the "absolutely outstanding marketing" of the Premier League around the world, "the dominance of overseas stars was holding back the national team." Blatter "also called for stiffer penalties for players and clubs whose supporters engage in racism," and confirmed he would stand down in '15, tipping UEFA President Michel Platini as a "good possibility" to replace him. Asked if he feared the EPL had gotten too big, Blatter focused on the impact on the national team: "You have in the key positions in the Premier League too many foreigners and not English players, so your national team is not yet, I have to say, is not yet at the level of these national teams [Spain, Italy and Germany]" (TELEGRAPH, 1/14).
SUMMER IN THE CITY: The AP reported Blatter "raised fresh doubts about the safety of playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in summertime," saying that "supporters could struggle to cope with the heat outside stadiums." There "have been growing calls to move the tournament to the winter to avoid the sweltering desert heat, which is expected to exceed 40 degrees Celsius." Blatter said, "It has been presented in the bid documents and in the presentation they made here in Zurich that there is a system that the stadia can be presented in, let's say, an atmosphere where it will not be too hot, too warm. But the World Cup is not only played in the stadia. The World Cup is also outside of the stadia, so it is a question mark" (AP, 1/15).