Tuesday, January 09, 2007

FIFA Chief Regrets Not Handing World Cup Trophy To Italy In Person

FIFA president Sepp Blatter wishes he could do the World Cup trophy presentation over again. He missed the ceremony after Italy won the World Cup in the summer of 2006, and has now expressed his regret that he did not make certain that he was there to make the handoff. He met with members of the Italian team on Monday and apologized. His apology may also put to rest the claim that FIFA has "anti-Italian" tendencies.

Blatter told AFP, "History will say it was a mistake for the FIFA president not to award the Italians the World Cup, and it was indeed an error on my part."

The FIFA president reportedly did not want to be in the center of attention after being booed and hissed by fans, which led some to conclude that Blatter was disaffected by the Italian victory. In fact, in trying to avoid causing a stir, his absence did just that.

Blatter told AP he decided to skip the ceremony before the game began.

"I wanted to avoid creating an ugly scene because the Germans had shown they would whistle at the word FIFA.

"Yes, Italy deserved to win the World Cup," Blatter added. "The Italians found themselves in a difficult situation at the World Cup and they showed a great capacity to play soccer, producing a great effort."