Soccer supremo says FIFA more influential than every religion

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has boasted that his organisation is more influential than any country in the world and every religion.

The boss of soccer’s governing body told Swiss paper Sonntags Zeitung that FIFA’s influence is because of “the positive emotions it releases”.

He said his organisation reaches 1.6 billion people.

“FIFA is more influential than any country in the world or any religion through the positive emotions football triggers,” Mr Blatter said.

“We move masses. We want to use this to create more peace, justice and health in the world,” he said.

According to the Washington Post, Mr Blatter, 79, added: “I believe in God and I believe in myself. That’s why I can fulfil my duties independently of age.”

But Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne, himself an ardent soccer fan, issued a yellow card to Mr Blatter, according to The Tablet.

Speaking to Cologne church radio, Cardinal Woelki said that more than two billion Christians worldwide would soon be celebrating Easter and would, if necessary, lay down their lives for their faith.

“With all enthusiasm for football, I think Mr Blatter has vastly overestimated himself and his association.

“He’s scored pretty much of an own goal and so belongs on the bench so that he can reorient himself and have another think,” Cardinal Woelki said.

The cardinal acknowledged FIFA’s social engagement, but also pointed to the link between big money and corruption in sport.

He cited the controversial FIFA choice of Qatar as the venue for the 2022 World Cup.

Cardinal Woelki highlighted worker exploitation and dangerous work practices leading to deaths on “world championship building sites” in Qatar.

He suggested this is where Mr Blatter and FIFA “should be putting the values for which they allegedly want to stand into practice”.

The post of FIFA president is up for election in May.


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