Fifa president Sepp Blatter has hit back at critics who are targeting what has been a largely controversial World Cup.
On officials Blatter believes Fifa employ ‘the best referees’ in the game.
One of the talking points has to be Frank Lampard’s shot for England in the last 16 defeat to Germany which clearly crossed the line but a goal was not given.
Critics say that could have put a different slant on the game and have called for video technology, but Blatter is adamant the game should stay as natural as possible.
“We are bound by the best referees we have,” Blatter said. “We tried to get them on top but naturally referees are human beings and they commit errors like everybody.”
Referee decisions are not the only issue put to Blatter, with critics also questioning empty seats around the stadiums in South Africa.
He said: “Empty seats yes but not empty stadia. Don’t forget 95% of all tickets have been sold. Not everybody came to the stadia. If you have seen in some of the stadia empty seats it came from hospitality, and we know hospitality does not work as we have expected because there is not the same enthusiasm as there has been for hospitality seats in other World Cups.”
The Fifa president admitted he was not surprised at the poor show from the African Nations, in particular the Ivory Coast and Nigeria having changed managers so close to the start of the tournament.
“You cannot manage a national team when you coach two or three months before the competition and this has happened in two of the associations, Ivory Coast and Nigeria,” he said. “And therefore it would have been a miracle if they went through.”
Blatter said it was not possible to judge this World Cup in comparison to others, but described it as “special”.
He said: “It was a World Cup on a new continent with a new culture and therefore it must be analysed on different levels, but if you look at the enthusiasm in Africa and also the repercussion in the world, if you look to the television audiences around the world, if you look to the fan-fests everywhere in the world then I have to say it was a special World Cup. All these fan-fests were not only because it was football but specifically because it comes from Africa. I cannot make a ranking of the World Cup but it was a very attractive World Cup and for me it was also a very emotional World Cup.”