Blatter welcomes UAE bidding to host future Fifa events

Published November 9th, 2013 - 04:00 GMT
 Sepp Blatter urges the UAE to bid to host other Fifa events
Sepp Blatter urges the UAE to bid to host other Fifa events

Fifa President Joseph Blatter on Friday praised the UAE’s hosting of the Under-17 World Cup and said the country was welcome to bid to hold other big football tournaments, including those for women.

Blatter, who was speaking at a press conference ahead of the U-17 World Cup final between Mexico and Nigeria at Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, said: “I have met with Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development, and he expressed the desire of the UAE to host other big Fifa tournaments. They have already organised the 2003 Under-20 Youth World Cup and the Under-17 World Cup, and I believe they can also host some of the Fifa World competitions for women, but they would have to apply and wait for the decision of the Executive Committee (EC).”

Regarding the change of name of the UAE’s professional football league from the Etisalat Pro-League to the Arabian Gulf League earlier this year, Gulf News asked Blatter about Fifa’s decision to refer to the new league on their website and other publications as ‘the Persian Gulf League’.

Blatter, who arrived in the UAE after visiting Iran, said: “There is an ongoing discussion between the Arabs and Iran regarding the name of the gulf and I don’t want to interfere.”

The Swiss also revealed that he planned talks with the Qatar Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani regarding his country’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

There have been widespread calls for the event to be switched from summer to winter to avoid the intense heat.

Regarding the protests about hosting the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar in winter, the Fifa president said: “I am going from here to Qatar to meet with the Emir to discuss many things which I shall report to the Fifa executive committee. There are many objections and protests regarding playing the 2022 finals in the winter and, by the winter I, mean November and December not January and February. Anyway, 2022 is still far away.”

Blatter also spoke out against magnetic resonance testing (MRI) to determine a player’s age, a practice that dates back to 2003 when Fifa began to examine the use of biological markers for age determination after being requested to do so by numerous member associations.

There has been scepticism expressed in some quarters about players at the U-17 World Cup being overage, but Blatter said: “I believe that we should stop doing these tests and have confidence in the member associations by using the electronic registering of all players which can not be tampered with and will record all the matches of players and when they started to play and how old were they.”

Blatter also talked about Fifa’s responsibility regarding the safety of players and officials. He said: “Security is one big issue that concerns Fifa. We have prohibited playing international matches in Iraq because of a lack of security and, when we feel confident about the safety of those involved in international competitions, we will take another decision.”

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