(WFI) FIFA president Sepp Blatter will not attend the final of the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada due to “current commitments in Zurich,” a spokesperson tells World Football INSIDER.
Hours before the USA’s 2-0 win over Germany in the World Cup semi-final in Montreal, reports quoted Blatter’s lawyer Richard Cullen saying the outgoing FIFA chief would not travel to Canada after all.
When asked by INSIDER if the reports were true, a FIFA spokesperson confirmed the news that for the first time in his 17-year reign Blatter would not hand over the Women’s World Cup trophy to the winning team.
“Due to their current commitments in Zurich, the FIFA president and the FIFA secretary general will remain at the FIFA headquarters,” she said.
Secretary general Jerome Valcke was supposed to be at the opening of the tournament on June 6, but pulled out because of the crisis engulfing world football’s governing body from respective investigations into corruption by U.S. and Swiss authorities. He won’t attend the final either.
FIFA vice president Issa Hayatou, who has been the most senior executive committee member at the tournament, will perform the presidential duties at the final in Vancouver’s BC Place stadium on Sunday.
The corruption and bribery scandal engulfing FIFA, with investigations being conducted by the FBI and Swiss authorities, effectively forced Blatter to announce he was “laying down his mandate” four days after being re-elected in June. He is not under investigation but the scandal threatens to touch him and he has not travelled abroad since the May 27 FIFA Congress.
The news that Blatter will not attend either the final or the FIFA women’s symposium on July 3-5 in Vancouver may be seen as a snub to the women’s game – something which he has long thought himself a champion of in his time in office.
Yet it is another stick with which to beat FIFA over their handling of this tournament. There was a large campaign from a number of international players last year over the decision to play all games on artificial turf, something which U.S. striker Abby Wambach said would never happen in the men’s edition.
More recently, Germany coach Silvia Neid has criticized the organization of the team’s hotels, with her players bumping into their semi-final opponents in the hotel that they share.
“Two teams that are supposed to be playing against each other shouldn’t be sharing the same hotel,” Neid said.
“But it’s not only the case in the semi-final. It has been like that for the whole tournament. For us, it was difficult after having won against Sweden. The Swedish players were pretty sad, but we still had to share an elevator with them, and the same with France.”
The situation has been in effect throughout the tournament, though in the men’s edition teams do not share hotels at any stage of the competition.
Written by Christian Radnedge
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