Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 25th 2015 Contents A69
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
VIENNA---FIFA president Sepp
Blatter listened to campaign
speeches from his three chal-
lengers yesterday, hearing how
badly his rivals want to change
the organisation he has been run-
ning for 16 years.
None of the three directly turned
to Blatter, who was sitting in the
front row during the annual UEFA
congress, but Michael van Praag
spoke last and voiced the harshest
criticism toward the man he hopes
to succeed after the May 29 elec-
"The current state of disarray
asks for a change in leadership," the
Dutch soccer federation president
said. "I cannot look away. It is the
responsibility of our generation to
clean up the mess."
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jor-
dan and former Portugal great Luis
Figo also presented some insight in
"We need ... a departure from
FIFA s authoritarian approach to
strategy," Prince Ali said.
Figo added: "I know football
inside and outside, I know what is
good and bad for football."
Standing for re-election for a
fifth term, Blatter turned down
UEFA s invitation to make a cam-
paign speech alongside his rivals.
However, the Swiss official delivered
an opening statement to the con-
gress in which he didn t even men-
tion the FIFA presidential election.
"I have delivered my speech for
unity and solidarity," Blatter said.
"This is my credo also for the next
two months---unity, solidarity. It s
the only way we approach, whether
in FIFA or to meet all the challenges
Blatter was stung when he last
faced UEFA at a pre-World Cup
meeting in June in Sao Paulo but
was now greeted with a dignified
applause by delegates from the 54
Asked if he felt treated with
respect this time, Blatter said "yes,
yes, especially the delegates."
Blatter refrained from contro-
versial issues, instead he hit out at
unnamed lawmakers for wanting
boycotts of the 2018 World Cup in
Russia and the 2022 event in Qatar.
"Football should be united, sport
should be united when it comes to
boycotts," he said. "Boycotts have
never had any results."
Ukraine president Petro
Poroshenko last week urged allies
to boycott the tournament in Rus-
sia, and other politicians have also
questioned the Qatar event amid
accusations of corruption and poor
Blatter praised IOC President
Thomas Bach and the president of
the German soccer federation,
Wolfgang Niersbach, for voicing
their outspoken rejection of any
calls for World Cup boycotts.
"The autonomy of sports must
be guaranteed," said Blatter, adding
that football should not look away
from political tensions but should
try to help find a solution. "We
should do something for peace.
Maybe we can help at least certain
conflict situations." (AP)
VIENNA---Michel Platini was re-
elected as UEFA president yester-
day, and two critics of Sepp Blatter
were chosen to join the FIFA exec-
In his acceptance speech, Platini
pledged his love for FIFA despite
supporting all three candidates
against Blatter in the world gov-
erning body s own presidential
Platini ran unopposed to extend
his reign, which started in 2007,
and was voted in by acclamation
by the leaders of UEFA s 54 member
federations to serve four more years.
"This means more to me than
you could possible imagine," Platini
said in an acceptance speech in
Platini also retained his position
as a FIFA vice president through
The former France great will be
joined on the FIFA executive com-
mittee by former Manchester Unit-
ed CEO David Gill and Germany
football federation president Wolf-
gang Niersbach. Both previously
said Blatter should leave FIFA this
Though Platini opted not to
stand against Blatter in the FIFA
election on May 29, UEFA backs
all three other candidates.
"We love FIFA deeply," Platini
said, watched by Blatter sitting at
the front of the congress hall. "It
is entirely because we love and
respect FIFA that we want it to be
"We Europeans want a strong
FIFA, a FIFA that is respectable
and respected," Platini added,
before taking an apparent jibe at
his onetime mentor.
Platini pledged that Europe
would continue to work with FIFA
and other continents "whatever
the result on the 29th of May."
FLORENCE---For the first time
since the World Cup, defender
Andrea Barzagli is back in the
The Juventus defender, who said
yesterday he feared his career
could have ended because of
injury, has been included in Anto-
nio Conte s squad for Saturday s
Euro 2016 qualifier with Bulgaria
and a friendly with England three
Barzagli, who won the World
Cup with Italy in 2006, made his
return to Juventus this month fol-
lowing surgery on his right foot
"I played three matches in one
week so I would say that I was
ready to be called up," said Barza-
gli, who returned to training in
September but was still in per-
sistent pain and faced more time
out after it was revealed he has a
stress fracture in his heel.
"It s horrible not to play and
not to be in touch with your team-
mates at your club and the nation-
al team," he added. "I thought I
wouldn t be able to play again
because of the pain I was in."
Barzagli played a key role when
Juventus won three straight Serie
A titles under Conte, and has also
been a mainstay for the national
team, with 50 appearances since
making his debut at the end of
The 33-year-old defender, who
was also part of the Italy team
which finished runner-up at the
2012 European Championship,
said Euro 2016 would likely be his
last appearance for the Azzurri.
MADRID---Lionel Messi can con-
tinue training with Argentina s
national squad in the United States
after tests showed he had not picked
up an injury after taking a knock
during the Clasico victory over Real
Madrid, Barcelona said yesterday.
The Spanish club said in a state-
ment that Messi went for a check-
up in a private clinic in Washington
DC yesterday, but that "no injury was
found." Messi has only sustained a
bruise to his right foot and can con-
tinue to train.
Argentina plays El Salvador on
Saturday at FedExField in Landover,
Maryland, and faces Ecuador three
days later at MetLife Stadium in
East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Barcelona beat Madrid 2-1 in the
Spanish league at the Camp Nou
on Sunday, stretching its lead to
four points with 10 rounds to go.
Argentina and Ecuador are
preparing for the Copa America next
June and El Salvador for the CON-
CACAF Gold Cup the following
ROME---Nearly nine years after
Italy s biggest soccer scandal, the
investigation has been closed with
hardly any sentences given.
Former Juventus executives Luciano
Moggi and Antonio Giraudo will not
face jail for match-fixing after their
prison sentences were eliminated by
Italy s highest criminal court, which
ruled that the statute of limitations
After six hours of deliberations yes-
terday, the Court of Cassation upheld
prosecutor Gabriele Mazzotta s rec-
ommendations, although the pair was
However, Moggi believed the verdict
proved Juventus did not cheat for a
Serie A championship.
"We have joked about for nine
years, and that is a regrettable thing,
because this abnormal trial has ended
with nothing: Just a lot of costs,"
Moggi said. "In nine years, it has been
established that the championship
was in fact regular, the drawing (of
referees) was regular, and that there
were no communications on the
appointments (of referees)."
Moggi avoids a 28-month jail term
for criminal association, while Giraudo
escapes 20 months in prison.
At the heart of the 2006 match-
fixing scandal, known as Calciopoli,
were accusations that Moggi and
Giraudo created a network of contacts
with Italian football federation officials
to influence refereeing assignments
and arrange for key players in other
teams to be booked ahead of matches
with the Turin club.
Juventus was stripped of the 2005
and 2006 Serie A titles for its role in
the scandal, and the club was relegated
to the second division with a nine-
point penalty. The team immediately
won promotion back to Serie A.
There were also points penalties
for other clubs.
Moggi was sentenced to five years,
four months in the initial ruling in
the case but that was reduced on
appeal, while Giraudo had his sentence
cut from 36 months. (AP)
The IAAF s ethics commission
won t say whether it is investigating
allegations that a member of the
world athletics body s top decision-
making council and a candidate for
vice president tried to bribe voters
with Rolex watches.
Tristan Jones, secretary of the ethics
commission, said in an e-mail yes-
terday that he was bound by confi-
dentiality rules and could not say if
a complaint was made against United
Arab Emirates federation president
Ahmad Al Kamali.
"I am unable to confirm or deny
whether any complaint has been
made," Jones wrote.
Spanish newspaper El Pais reported
yesterday that Al Kamali was under
investigation over allegations that he
offered Rolex watches to 40 officials
at the recent African Athletics Asso-
ciation congress in Ethiopia.
When reached by phone by the AP,
Al Kamali said: "I don t want to talk
anything about this, thank you," before
Al Kamali is a candidate for IAAF
vice president in elections in Beijing
in August, when the IAAF will also
elect a new president. Sebastian Coe
and Sergei Bubka are the two candi-
dates to succeed Lamine Diack as
Also set to run for IAAF vice pres-
ident is Dahlan Al Hamad of Qatar.
The African officials who were
offered the luxury watches are all eli-
gible to vote in those elections at the
IAAF congress ahead of the world
championships, El Pais said.
IAAF rules forbid candidates offer-
ing gifts or donations to voters.
The 56-year-old Al Kamali is one
of 27 elected members of the IAAF s
ruling council. He is the founder and
chairman of the Dubai Marathon and
also a lawyer and former military
judge, according to his biography page
on the IAAF Web site.
Al Kamali was elected to the IAAF
council in 2011 as a relative unknown
in world athletics, gaining the most
votes out of the nine new members
Quoting an unidentified president
of an African federation, El Pais said
Al Kamali offered the watches to del-
egates at the African congress in Addis
Ababa this month, where he left the
Rolexes in hotel rooms. He also offered
money and equipment to at least one
official to help athletics development
in his home country, El Pais said.
The IAAF also would not confirm
or deny an investigation was under-
way, directing queries to its inde-
pendent ethics commission. (AP)
Messi gets all-clear after tests
on bruising from 'Clasico'
Charges against Moggi, Giraudo dropped
IAAF official accused of bribery
Blatter listens to campaign
speeches from three rivals
Platini re-elected as UEFA president for 3rd term
Barzagli back in Italy team after injury
FIFA president Joseph Blatter gestures as he waits for the start of the
39th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Vienna, Austria, yesterday. Blatter hit
out at unnamed lawmakers for wanting boycotts of the 2018 World Cup
in Russia and the 2022 event in Qatar. AP PHOTO
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