Fifa president Sepp Blatter says he was not pleased with the negativity on display in Sunday’s World Cup final.
Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0 thanks to an Andres Iniesta extra-time winner, but the runners up have been criticised for a foul-strewn display which saw them reduced to 10 men.
“The final was not exactly what I expected in terms of fair play,” said Blatter. “It’s not up to me judge the performances of the officials, I can only say it was a very hard task that the referee trio had on the field of play. It was not easy, really not easy and they were really not helped in this task I can say.”
However he refused to be drawn further, adding: “Even though I have seen all the irregularities as a spectator, I cannot answer this question as president of FIFA. I could answer it as a fan of football but I am here as president. “I will not make any comment but we always say football is school of life because it is based on discipline and respect. It’s a combat game but in the spirit of fair play. You have to learn to win and you have to learn to lose, and should not forget the basis which is discipline and respect.”
At a press conference to mark the end of SA2010, Blatter praised the organisation of the tournament, the first to be held on African soil, and praised former South Africa president Nelson Mandela for helping the event become a reality.
The 78-year-old added that he would rate the event – which passed off without any major problems – as “nine out of 10”.
“Big compliments to South Africa and the people of South Africa, and to the government for all the guarantees they have given and met for the organisation of this World Cup, and to the local organising committee,” he said. “The wonderful hospitality given by the people was something very great. Africa have proved they can organise this World Cup and can organise a big competition. We trusted South Africa and with our trust they got their confidence and they should be proud. This World Cup had a special momentum, linked with a history of freedom and the history of one man. This man is still living, at the age of 92 and this is a man who has suffered so much. But despite this, upon his release from prison, he spoke of peace and understanding. I met him for the first time in 1992 and he had a dream – to bring the World Cup to his country. The dream came true in May 2004 when South Africa were awarded the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He brought the World Cup to South Africa. He wanted to attend the tournament – and last night he fulfilled that ambition. So, I must pay a homage to the greatest living humanist – Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela.”
Blatter also reignited the debate about goal-line technology, apologising once again to both England and Mexico for obvious mistakes in their second round games which were missed by officials.
Of England’s disallowed Frank Lampard strike, Blatter said: “A goal was not given in a match between England and Germany and it went all around the world, it was like a cry, an alarm that something very, very important has happened. It was said ‘will you reopen the file of technology?’ and I have said ‘yes – goal-line technology will be looked at again by the International FA Board’, but only goal-line technology.”


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