England and the Football Association (FA) have been labelled “bitter” in a scathing attack by former FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Blatter hit out at England, who lost out to Russia in their bid to host the 2018 World Cup in a vote which has since been tarnished by claims of corruption under the Swiss’ reign.
The 79-year-old – serving a six-year ban from all football-related activities and who was succeeded by Gianni Infantino following last week’s FIFA presidential election in Zurich – accused the FA of being bad losers.
“I am so surprised because it was in England where the beautiful game was organised and they have given this game something absolutely outstanding: fair play,” Blatter told BeIN Sport.
“Fair play means that you can learn to win, that’s easy, but you learn also to lose and I think in England they forgot the correct signification of fair play.
“I personally don’t have a problem with the English, but they obviously have a problem with me, but not only because they lost the World Cup for 2018.
“They have been in charge of all sports in the world until the 70s and 80s.
“It started that they lost their hegemony of sport leaders and the one that they will never forgive was [Joao] Havelange, who beat Sir Stanley Rous in June 1974. They will never forgive.
“They are a little bitter. When I came in as president, already when I was secretary general, they were. You cannot be the friend of everybody in the world. As secretary general perhaps it was easier than as president.”