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Dignitaries stay mum on FIFA trouble

Dignitaries arriving at the FIFA congress in Zurich on Tuesday have said little on the controversy surrounding football’s governing body.

Allegations of corruption surrounding several high-profile executive committee members have erupted in the lead-up to Wednesday’s presidential election, with AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam withdrawing his candidacy shortly before his suspension over allegations of bribery.

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner has also been suspended, while questions have been raised on the way the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Incumbent Sepp Blatter is now the only nomination for president, and he received backing from Hungarian Football Federation president Sandor Csanyi when addressing reporters as he made his way into the congress.

Csanyi was, however, reluctant to elaborate on the scandal rocking FIFA.

“I’ve only just arrived and I wouldn’t like to talk about it,” he said.

“I just heard (the election won’t be postponed). I support Mr Blatter.”

“I think (it should go ahead). Definitely.”

It was more than reporters got from Task-Force Football 2014 member Sir Bobby Charlton, who was far happier to talk of retired Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes.

“I only heard today that he’s retiring,” the former United captain said.

“I think that we’ve tried as hard as well as we could (to keep him), but he’s his own man. He’s a great player and he will be badly missed.”

“He’s instinctive, really. He makes his mind up instantly. He’s got fantastic peripheral vision. He can see everything, even though he’s not looking that way. Brilliant player though.”

“Well he will (stay on as coach), which he’ll be very good at too.”

When quizzed on the trouble at FIFA, however, Charlton was less forthcoming: “I said I was going to speak about Paul Scholes. You ask FIFA,” he said.

Tue 31 May, 2011
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