European news

Blatter hits out at multi-nation Euros plan

March 14, 2013
By Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has condemned UEFA's plan to stage the 2020 European Championship in 13 countries, saying it would rob the tournament of "soul and heart".

Sepp Blatter
AssociatedSepp Blatter's presidency may not end in 2015

Blatter, 77, told German football magazine kicker UEFA president Michel Platini's plan would mean it was "no longer a European championship" and said: "A tournament has to be played in one country.

"That's how you create identity and euphoria. Just look at the "summer fairytale" in Germany.

"I once said to Michel Platini that Colonel Gaddafi told me, after the awarding of the 2010 World Cup to South Africa, that all 53 African states should stage one game with the final being held in South Africa.

"He believed in this idea, but I told him it was unthinkable. That's why I told Platini his idea is not new."

Blatter, who was elected FIFA president in 1998 and is serving his fourth term in the post, said he would make way for a successor in 2015 - but said Platini "has not decided yet" whether he will run for office.

He also reiterated that FIFA executives had taken the decision to stage the 2022 World Cup in Qatar during June and July, adding: "If Qatar wishes for something else [a different time of year], they have to approach FIFA. We would have a new situation then.

"So far, Qatar has not made a step into that direction. They still have until 2016, when we set the dates until 2022."