(WFI) FIFA executive committee member Michel D’Hooghe says the £16,000 ($25,000) watch from the Brazil FA at the World Cup was the most “poisonous present” he’s ever received.
The head of FIFA’s medical commission made his comments at the Leaders Sport Summit in London.
Bags containing Parmigiani watches were distributed to all 28 members of the FIFA ExCo at the tournament in Brazil. FIFA’s ethics committee has warned it will launch disciplinary proceedings if all watches are not returned by Oct. 24. Accepting gifts is against FIFA’s ethics regulations.
“We [FIFA exco] are absolutely angry on that situation. All my colleagues on the executive committee, not one of them needs that watch. I have been in football 42 years and received many watches in my career. It is a classical present in football, so I did not need that watch,” he said.
“They say I received that watch. It is not true. I found that watch in a bag that was placed in our room. It’s only after one week that I opened it; I saw there was a watch with a plastic bracelet and the mark ‘Parmigiano’ (sic). For me Parmigiano is a cheese that you put on spaghetti. I thought it was a kind of Swatch.”
The Belgian was at the conference to speak about the medical challenges in the modern game but said he didn’t believe doping was one of them.
“There is not a doping culture in football,” he said, adding that footballers are less likely to cheat because of the skills involved in the sport.
That was disputed by Travis Tygart, chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency, who said the comment was “nonsense”.
“Anybody that is in the locker room and hears from clean athletes you know that speed, quickness, endurance are benefited by the drugs these athletes use,” he said. “So I think it’s naïve to think it, and it’s what you’d expect to hear from the sport.
“But fortunately for FIFA and every Olympic sport there are independent organisations that are here implementing programmes for athletes that participate in their sport. But they can say those things; their job is to grow revenues and grow the brand and not to enforce anti-doping rules”.
Schwarzer Warning Over Qatar Heat
Chelsea and former Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has said that one or two players will have to “drop dead” before FIFA wakes up to the issue of the heat in Qatar in summer.
Speaking about the 2022 World Cup and the potential of hosting it in the summer, Schwarzer recalled his experience of playing matches in the Gulf nation.
“It’s ridiculous to play at that time of year. I don’t know why there’s a debate” he said, before adding that playing any official matches in the summer months in such climates should be “banned”.
He also urged FIFA to publish the report on alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process by its top investigator Michael Garcia, saying “open up all the doors, get the report and say here it is. Open it up to all the members; open it up to the public so they can see how things are run.
“If it’s running incorrectly, which many people think it is, then change it and make it happen. That’s the biggest disappointment as a player and someone who loves football; it’s such a shame to see it [world football] run like it’s being run, with so little trust [for FIFA].”
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