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Blatter hits out at critics

Sao Paulo: Fifa president Sepp Blatter launched a scathing attack on those who, according to him, were “plotting to destroy” world soccer’s governing body, and branded some of the criticism of the Qatar World Cup award for 2022 as racist.

Blatter was addressing delegates of the African and Asian confederations at their extraordinary congresses ahead of Fifa’s annual congress which starts here on Tuesday. The African congress, which declared its “continued support” for Blatter, who intends to run for a fifth term as president next year, also passed a resolution condemning what it called the British media’s racist attack on its officials.

Blatter’s comment came in the wake of a series of fresh allegations made by Britain’s The Sunday Times newspaper about the award of the Cup to Qatar and rumblings from sponsors who are unhappy with the current trouble Fifa is facing.

Blatter, without defining who “they” were, told Asian delegates “they want to destroy us… they want to destroy the institution (Fifa)”. He got a standing ovation when he told the delegates to “show unity in Fifa”.

Earlier on Monday, Blatter spoke to delegates at the African Congress and without naming names described attacks on the Qatar World Cup as “racist”. Blatter said: “Once again there is a sort of storm against Fifa relating to the Qatar World Cup. Sadly there’s a great deal of discrimination and racism and this hurts me.”

The Sunday Times over the last two weeks has published a series of articles expanding on allegations that the former president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Mohamed Bin Hammam, had used money from secret slush funds to help win votes and support for the Qatari World Cup bid.