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Dec 8, 2010

Blatter blasts England as bad losers

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has branded England as "bad losers" as the fallout over the awards of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups continues.

•  Warner blames Englilsh media
•  Grondona denies Qatar payment
•  Australia consultant slams FIFA

Russia won the right to host the 2018 tournament and Qatar the 2022 version, while England, who were rated highly by FIFA's own technical report, attracted a paltry two votes despite the last minute lobbying efforts of Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham.

It led the acting chairman of the Football Association, Roger Burden, to remove his application for the job on a permanent basis after he claimed he could no longer trust FIFA's members.

England's bid chief Andy Anson then suggested Blatter had instructed his members to vote a certain way after stories about FIFA corruption appeared in the British media. England's team was also disappointed that votes promised to them failed to materialise.

But Blatter is nonplussed by England's reaction, telling Swiss magazine Weltwoche: "To be honest, I was surprised by all the English complaining after the defeat. England, of all people, the motherland of fair play ideas.

"Now some of them are showing themselves to be bad losers. You can't come afterwards and say so and so promised to vote for England. The results are known. The outcome came out clearly.

"I really sense in some reactions a bit of the arrogance of the western world of Christian background. Some simply can't bear it if others get a chance for a change.

"What can be wrong if we start football in regions where this sport demonstrates a potential which goes far beyond sport?"

Blatter also rejected claims that corruption still remins within FIFA, even though two members of football's governing body were suspended after an investigation by the Sunday Times alleged they had offered to sell their votes.

Further fuel was added to the fire due to the fact that the two winning bids, Qatar and Russia, were given poor technical reports but Blatter said: "There is no systematic corruption in FIFA. That is nonsense. We are financially clean and clear."

But Blatter did admit there needed to be changes in the organisation: "We need to improve our image. We also need to clarify some things within FIFA," he added.

But he insisted he would not still be president when the Qatar World Cup comes around in 2022: "Definitely not. If God wills it, I will be invited to the opening party on crutches or in a wheelchair."

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