FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has spent the morning engaged in a wide-ranging media conference at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium ahead of the final of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010. Here, FIFA.com brings you some of the central points of discussion.
On UAE 2010 and finalists TP Mazembe Englebert
A new page in the history of football will be written tomorrow when we have the final of the Club World Cup with an African team involved. To have TP Mazembe in the Club World Cup final against the famous FC Internazionale Milano, the reigning European champions, is a very big event. I must also express my compliments to the football association of the United Arab Emirates for their hosting of this competition for the second time. As with last year, they have done it well. We have nothing to criticise and can only express compliments to the local authorities for their wonderful hospitality and facilities.
On his prediction for the FIFA Club World Cup final
I cannot answer this other than to say the team that scores the most goals! On one side you have an Internazionale team with so much experience, so many different nationalities and all the stars. Then on the other you have Mazembe, whose starting line-up had nine players from Congo, one from Zambia and one from Cameroon. I’m sure both sides will play good football, play with heart and then let’s see. May the best team win.
On the FIFA Club World Cup returning to Japan in 2011
The Japanese are professionals in organisation and they have hosted everything: the World Cup, the Olympic games, the Toyota Cup between Europe and South America. They have also hosted the Club World Cup brilliantly before. That said, the organisers here in the UAE have set the bar very high and the Japanese should not think, ‘We’ve done it before, it will be easy’. But you can reassure your friends in Japan that I think they will do a great job.
On the possibility of Qatar involving other countries in hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup™
Having toured around different countries in this region (Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait as well as Qatar itself) I can say they are all very happy that the World Cup is coming to the Middle East and proud to be part of this region. They are interested – I would say a little bit more than interested – in becoming a part of this competition. Another item circulating around the world, which has been raised by two great footballers in Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini, is changing the calendar in 2022 to have the [World Cup] matches in the winter. On both items, the agreement as it stands is that Qatar will stage the World Cup, all 64 matches, and that it will take place during June and July. Naturally there can be some changes but any requests have to come from the Qatar Football Association - then it’s up to the FIFA Executive Committee to decide. But if you’re asking me personally, I definitely support the playing of the 2022 World Cup in winter, when the climate is appropriate. I’m thinking here of the footballers, not only of the fans, and I think it should be possible. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
On the preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
With 2014, it’s time to ring the bell a little bit because the tournament is now three years and six months away. On the stadiums they are doing a good job, although I’m not so sure on the question of infrastructure. But I remember that I received the same questions four years ago concerning South Africa: what will happen if stadiums, the hotels and the airports are not ready? As I said then, we have a Plan B in one pocket and Plan C in another, and it’s the same this time: Plan B is Brazil, and Plan C is Brazil. They will do it. You cannot imagine this country of football will not do everything in its power to make sure it is ready. We have trust and confidence.