Diego Maradona lashes out at 'corrupt' FIFA chiefs

Diego Maradona
Dubai, Jun 6: There is no stopping to the identity-crisis that has fallen over the FIFA in the wake of several corruption scandals. First there were the officials and administrators, among whom some spoke of it in a hushed manner, while few others who dared to speak loud were thrown in to the quagmire of enquiry. But now, there are football legends who have come out in the open against the game's apex body and there are no prizes to guess that Diego Maradona, is the lead among them all.

The Argentine football legend was speaking at his first press conference as coach of Dubai-based club Al Wasl on Jun 4.

Hitting the reputation of Sepp Blatter, the FIFA President for a free-kick, the legendary footballer said, "There is a lot of corruption involving FIFA officials and they are all millionaires because of football. I wonder if Blatter has ever kicked a football in his life, and yet we have been under the control of such people who have refused to give up power in FIFA."

He added, "Why don't they all just relinquish their positions, take the money they have made and leave the running of the sport in the more capable hands of former football players?"

Stating clearly that he has no love for the FIFA administration, the 50-year former Argentine footballer and coach said, "I don't support corrupt people and I will never be on their side. I have always been asked by them to support the FIFA family. But what family are they talking about? This sport belongs to us and they have never ever asked us to be part of the development process."

He added, "They have too much power and this has made them so arrogant and proud. This is not what a genuine football lover needs from such officials. After all football, is the biggest sport in the world. We will continue doing what we are doing so that these corrupt people go away. They are too old and since they have made so much money at the cost of football, they should simply take it all and go away. Please leave football alone."

He even said that the game's apex body had worked against his attempts to form a players' union and said, "What did FIFA do? They worked against us to ensure the union never saw the light of day."

Blatter, who has been the President of FIFA since 1998, was re-elected again last week after he ended up as the lone candidate in the fray. The other candidate Mohammed Bin Hammam was suspended from FIFA after allegations of bribery surfaced against him. Critics say that Blatter conveniently forced the expulsion of Bin Hammam, the suspended Asian Football Confederation chairman and point out that, in the aftermath of Hammam's suspension, FIFA should have put a stay on the polls until the hearing of Bin Hammam's case is over and a verdict is pronounced.

OneIndia News

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