global news

Blatter vows to investigate North Korea claims

August 11, 2010

Sepp Blatter has confirmed FIFA will look into claims of mistreatment of North Korea's players and coach.

Kim Jong-Hun
GettyImagesReports suggest Kim Jong-Hun has been forced to work unpaid on a building site as punishment

Widespread reports this month claimed Kim Jong-Hun was sentenced to hard labour and his squad were subjected to a six-hour interrogation by government officials following a World Cup campaign that ended with three straight defeats.

Blatter told a press conference in Singapore that FIFA had contacted the new president of the North Korean football association and was looking into the matter.

"(We contacted them) to tell us about the election of a new president and, if it is true, the allegations made by the media that the coach and some players have been condemned or punished," he said. "The first step is the federation and we'll see what the answer will be, and then we can elaborate on that."

FIFA takes a dim view of government interference in footballing matters and has often in the past suspended affected federations.

It is believed athletes in the secretive Communist country have previously been jailed for poor performances.

Blatter also confirmed the matter of goal-line technology would be on the agenda at the International Football Association Board meeting in October.

Meanwhile, FIFA have confirmed the planned visit of their inspection group to Russia is expected to go ahead as planned despite the wildfires currently affecting the country.

The group are due in Russia from August 16 to 19 as part of the bidding process for 2018 and 2022 World Cups.