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Blatter defends World Cup decisions

Wed 22nd Dec 2010 | FIFA

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has defended the decision to give the World Cup to Russia and Qatar - and insisted that losing bids should accept defeat gracefully.

He told www.fifa.com: "When I became the FIFA president, the decision was made to go into Asia. And then I said we had to go to Africa, which is what we did. It's only natural, then, that we should keep on moving into new regions.

"We have made historic decisions in terms of sport and geopolitics. We've sent the World Cup to new territories.

"The 2018 World Cup will go to eastern Europe and the vast country that is Russia, and the 2022 event will go to Qatar, in the Arab world.

"The World Cup will discover new cultures in new regions, and that's something I'm delighted about."

Asked if he understood the disappointment of the losing candidates, Blatter added: "Yes, but maybe some people have forgotten that in football you have to learn to lose as well as to win.

"It was a competition. Some people won, some people lost. That's normal.

"The sporting media don't always appreciate the social or cultural importance of awarding the World Cup finals to a country.

"They just think about penalties, corners, refereeing and money. But, as I've already said, this decision wasn't about making money."

Blatter said this year's World Cup in South Africa had had a huge economic impact on the country.

"2010 has been a year of 'fulfilment', a historic year, one in which we've broken new ground," he said.

"We've had the World Cup in Africa, which is an extraordinary achievement in itself. It's had a phenomenal impact around the world, and the economic impact of the event can never be underestimated."

"Back in 2004, when the competition was awarded to South Africa, the country was a young republic that had been in existence for 10 years and was looking to find its place in the modern world," he said.

"Since then, both the rest of the world and South Africa itself have come to realise just how important a country it is."






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