Maradona: FIFA run by power-crazy ‘dinosaurs’

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Maradona: FIFA run by power-crazy ‘dinosaurs’

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Corruption and match-fixing scandals that have undermined FIFA will continue as long as the sport’s governing body is run by “dinosaurs,’’ football great Diego Maradona claimed Saturday.

The Argentine, in Dubai to sign a two-year contract to coach local Al Wasl club, said the sport’s governing body had been badly run over the years. He attacked Wednesday’s re-election of President Sepp Blatter “who has never kicked a football’’ and what he called the “arrogance’’ of all its executives.

“When you have so much power, you can do so many stupid things as is happening in FIFA,’’ Maradona said. “Every day, there is corruption, match fixing scandals. This is not football. We are not talking about football here. This is not something that people who watch football deserve.’’

Maradona said it was “no surprise’’ that Blatter was re-elected to a fourth four-year term, saying the 75-year-old Swiss and other executives will remain in office for as long as they can.

“Unfortunately in FIFA, we have a museum, a big museum,’’ he said.

“They are dinosaurs who don’t want to give up power,’’ Maradona said.

“This Blatter being re-elected, that is not something unique. People like us know what is going on.’’

He did not elaborate.

Maradona is the latest big name player or football executive to take aim at FIFA, which has seen its credibility damaged in recent months by an unprecedented string of match-fixing cases and corruption allegations swirling around the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. It culminated last week when Blatter’s only challenger for the presidency, Mohamed bin Hammam, withdrew from the race amid bribery allegations.

Just as Maradona’s press conference was ending, FIFA announced it was investigating Argentina’s 4-1 loss in Nigeria on Wednesday after betting patterns suggested it was targeted by match fixers.

Maradona said it would be best for football if Blatter and other FIFA executives - like his longtime opponent Julio Grondona, president of the Argentine Football Association - resigned but doubted it would ever happen.

“They are going to look after themselves, look after their backs,’’ he said. “They will stay until they are 105 and 110 and football unfortunately will be the same.’’

Maradona, 50, agreed last month to coach the little-known Al Wasl club in the Gulf. He hasn’t coached since leading Argentina to the World Cup quarterfinals last year.


한글 관련 기사 [연합]

마라도나 “블래터, FIFA 회장 자격 없다”

디에고 마라도나(51) 전(前) 아르헨티나 대표팀 감독이 최근 4선에 성공한 제프 블래터 국제축구연맹(FIFA) 회장을 강도 높게 비판했다.

마라도나는 4일(현지시간) 아랍에미리트(UAE) 두바이에서 가진 AP통신과의 인터뷰에서 "FIFA 수뇌부는 멍청한 공룡집단에 불과하다"며 "공도 한번 차 보지 않은 사람이 어떻게 축구 최대조직의 수장을 맡을 수 있느냐"고 쓴소리 했다.

그는 최근 FIFA를 뒤흔드는 부패 추문과 승부조작 사건은 모두 어리석은 집행부 때문에 일어난 일이라고 덧붙였다.

마라도나는 지난달 아랍에미리트(UAE) 프로축구팀 알 와슬과 2년 계약을 맺고 10개월 만에 감독직에 복귀했다.

계약서에 사인하기 위해 두바이를 찾은 마라도나는 구단이 그에게 2년간 총 1천만 달러(약 108억원)를 지급할 것이라는 추측에 대해선 극구 부인했다.

그는 지난해 남아프리카공화국 월드컵에서 대표팀을 맡았으나 8강에서 독일에 0-4로 참패하고서 사령탑에서 물러났다.

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