Maradona slams Blat­ter

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

DEAD SEA — Ar­gentina’s World Cup win­ning cap­tain Diego Maradona launched a blis­ter­ing attack on FIFA pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter on Mon­day say­ing that world soc­cer’s gov­ern­ing body had de­scended into an­ar­chy with the 79-year-old Swiss in charge.

With the FIFA pres­i­den­tial elec­tion less than a month away, Maradona, one of the great­est play­ers to ever grace the game and the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind Ar­gentina’s 1986 World Cup victory, said the time was long over­due for Blat­ter to go.he said he would do all he could to help Prince Ali Bin Al Hus­sein win the elec­tion, even though the 39-year-old Jor­da­nian royal hinted on Mon­day he might con­sider pulling out of the con­test if he thought one of the other two chal­lengers could win.

In a syn­di­cated in­ter­view with Guillem Balague, the mod­er­a­tor at the Soc­cerex Asian Fo­rum at the King Hus­sein con­ven­tion cen­tre, some 60 kilo­me­tres from the Jor­da­nian cap­i­tal Am­man,

pulled no punches and gave his back­ing to the Jor­da­nian royal.asked why, he replied: “If I didn’t be­lieve that he would be a good pres­i­dent, I wouldn’t be here.

“As the foot­ball world knows, in­side FIFA there is to­tal an­ar­chy, where there is only one man who de­cides ev­ery­thing.

“But he knows ab­so­lutely noth­ing. There­fore it is time for a change. And it is so be­cause even his col­leagues should ac­tu­ally ad­vise him to leave.”

Maradona, 54, who was voted along with Pele the joint-best player of the 20th cen­tury by FIFA in 2000, said he be­lieved that the con­tin­ued pres­ence of Blat­ter, who is seek­ing a fifth term as pres­i­dent, would con­tinue to harm foot­ball.

“He has done a lot of dam­age to foot­ball since he has been there. It’s time for him to step aside and let us, who are full of strength, ren­o­vate foot­ball.”

Maradona played in the World Cups of 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1994 and later coached Ar­gentina to the World Cup quar­ter-fi­nals of 2010. He im­plied he was un­happy about way things were done at FIFA, par­tic­u­larly re­gard­ing the choice of Rus­sia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup fi­nals.

“First we didn’t know where the World Cup was go­ing to be held. Then we found out that af­ter Brazil it was Rus­sia and then Qatar.

“With­out any doubt what­so­ever Blat­ter, is scared. Blat­ter is scared. He’s scared of be­ing left out of his share of the cake,” Maradona said.

“That is what re­ally an­noys some­one like me, who has played in four World Cups. I was chas­ing the ball, Blat­ter is chas­ing cham­pagne.” — Reuters

Diego Maradona

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