Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Discredited Blatter forced to apologise to FAI
Discredited Fifa president Sepp Blatter has issued an apology to the Football Association of Ireland after he was accused of breaking assurances of private discussions regarding the ongoing World Cup saga.
The row erupted in the continuing fall-out from Ireland's elimination by France after Thierry Henry's now infamous handball.
FAI claimed Blatter had gone against his word by making the talks public knowledge and that it was asked for the subject of a 33rd team in next summer's finals to be ignored at Wednesday's meeting of Fifa's executive committee in Cape Town.
The accusation came after Blatter had originally raised the subject at the Soccerex business conference in Johannesburg earlier this week and his words were greeted with laughter from some delegates and businessmen present.
Bungling Blatter said: "In this connection I would like to express my regrets - my regrets to a wrong interpretation of what I have said in the Soccerex.
"I have only announced they have asked it, but the presence in the Soccerex they don't took it very, I would say, seriously.
"So I regret what I have created and especially towards the Irish Football Association, I am sorry about these headlines going around the world.
"Contrary I have nothing against the Irish, they were very sporting people when they came to Fifa and it is a pity that it has been now communicated in this way.
Blatter's half-hearted apology is unlikely to quell the growing unease at his poor leadership over the last few weeks and his personal comments have made a mockery of FIFA's so called Fair Play code.