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FIFA World Cup

FIFA denies snubbing Diego Maradona

RIO DE JANEIRO -- FIFA has played down claims from Diego Maradona that he was prevented from watching Argentina in action at the World Cup.

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The Albiceleste legend has said that he was blocked from watching his country's 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Maracana on Sunday.

Maradona, a fierce critic of FIFA, is accredited as a journalist at the World Cup, working for Venezuelan broadcaster Telesur, which does not have rights to broadcast matches.

He told the Argentine channel TyC Sports: "I was not allowed to go in to the game. So I had to return to the hotel to see the second half. I did everything I could but they would not let us in.

"Someone just said no, it could not happen, so I had to watch it on TV. Hopefully we will get this resolved because I want to go and see Argentina in several more games.

"It is one thing to not be able to go to a game, and another to not be allowed to go. When there is goodwill, you're allowed in but when there is ill will, it's better to forget it and head back to the hotel, which is what we did."

However, FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer says the governing body did not receive a complaint from Maradona ''nor for anybody else.''

''Maybe he went somewhere where we didn't have the necessary access but we have no record of it,'' Fischer said.

Maradona was captain of the Argentina team that won the 1986 World Cup.


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