FIFA President Sepp Blatter Says Brazil Protests Have Not Harmed Organization
FIFA President Sepp Blatter believes that FIFA's reputation "has been enhanced by the Confederations Cup, despite the demonstrations that have swept across Brazil," according to Ben Smith of the BBC. Speaking for the first time since the protests began, Blatter said that "he had sympathy with people who took to the streets in 100 cities across Brazil." He said, "FIFA has come out of this stronger, with our image enhanced. Football has played a positive part here and given emotion." Blatter said that "he had sympathy with the issues being raised by the peaceful protests." He went on to say that he hoped the government "would clear up the social unrest before next summer's World Cup." Blatter said, "This is not our problem, it is a political problem, but we hope something will be changed so that by the time the World Cup begins next summer we can have a platform to deliver it" (BBC, 6/28). REUTERS' Brian Homewood reported FIFA "has been criticised in Brazil for making a tax-free profit out of the World Cup and leaving the hosts to mke all the investments, something which Blatter challenged." Blatter said, "The aim of FIFA is not to take profit out of the country but to put into the country the necessary help and means to make sure this World Cup is a success. The World Cup provides practically 90 percent of the income of FIFA to ensure we can develop the game around the world" (REUTERS, 6/28).
DEFENDING HIS DECISION: BLOOMBERG's Tariq Panja reported Blatter "defended his decision to temporarily leave Brazil during the Confederations Cup" for an int'l youth football tournament in Turkey, saying that he was fulfilling his responsibilities. Blatter "surprised Brazilian officials by leaving after the opening games of the eight-team Confederations Cup." He said, "In no way could it be said that I escaped responsibility, on the contrary I accepted two responsibilities at the same time" (BLOOMBERG, 6/28).