Sepp Blatter and Liu Peng will be at Sunday’s Olympic football tournaments draw. (Getty Images)  

Blatter in Beijing for Olympics Tournament Draw

FIFA President Sepp Blatter along with Chinese Minister of the General Administration of Sport Liu Peng will attend the Olympic football tournaments draw for the 2008 Games on Sunday.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke will conduct the selection process for 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams.

The winner of the women’s Brazil vs. Ghana match at 7 p.m. Saturday will be the final qualifying team.

The ceremony will last about an hour and will feature Chinese folk dance.

Blatter Against Boycott

Sepp Blatter said no one wins in an Olympic boycott.

“Football will make an extraordinary contribution, as the preliminary round matches will not only take place in Beijing. We will bring along the Olympic spirit, the Olympic ideal. That is good for the country and for its population,” Blatter told the German Football Federation in an interview.

Blatter Opposes UEFA, EU

FIFA President Sepp Blatter wants to restrict club teams to five foreign nationals, despite protests from UEFA and the EU.

UEFA and EU contend Blatter’s proposal violates EU laws on the freedom of movement for workers. Blatter insists he’s protecting younger players from exploitation.

UEFA Pres Michael Platini and Sepp Blatter are at odds on restricting the number of foreign players per team. (Getty Images)

“He doesn’t want a war with UEFA or to anger the EU, but this is a point of principle for him,” a FIFA official said.

Blatter will seek a “gentleman’s agreement at FIFA’s annual congress in Sydney on . He must persuade 75% of the 208 member associations to vote for his proposal.

“Firstly you must be confident you are dealing with gentlemen that will stick to the deal. But in this day and age that is highly unlikely,” a senior UEFA source told Reuters.


South African Federation Pres Retiring

South African Football Federation President Molefi Oliphant will not run for reelection in September 2009. After more than a decade of service he will quit at age 56.

“I believe I have run my lap. One has been privileged to be given an opportunity to be head of football from January 26, 1997 to date,” Oliphant said.

Oliphant wanted to leave his post in 2005, but FIFA President Sepp Blatter persuaded him to help prepare for the 2010 World Cup.

However, the organizing committee is now in place, and Oliphant said it is doing a good job.

FIFA VP Calls Media “Cowards”

FIFA vice president Jack Warner chastised Trinidad and Tobaggo media for not defending a football federation press officer kicked out of a Ministry of Sport press conference.

Gary Hunt, the Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Sport, and Warner have been feuding since Hunt took office a few months ago. Warner said Hunt is unwilling to provide adequate support for football.

Brazilian football star Romario claims he’s scored more than 1,000 goals, but FIFA gives him a much lower total. (Getty Images)

T&TFF press officer Sean Fuentes was filming Hunt’s press conference to provide clips and quotes to foreign media. Warner told the media they should have walked out in solidarity with Fuentes.


Briefs…

Belize will play Mexico at Reliant Stadium in South Africa during the second CONCACAF qualifying tournament. According to FIFA, Belize lacks the proper infrastructure to host the June 15 match.

Egypt hosted a one-day FIFA Commissioners Symposium on April 17. The conference will bring 63 commissioners from across Africa to discuss the 2010 World Cup.

Brazilian forward Romario , 42, is calling it quits, for good this time, after a 23-year career. He is a FIFA player of the year and was a contributor to the 1994 World Cup win by Brazil.

Written by Eric Connelly

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