VIDEO: FIFA and corruption go hand-in-hand (Blatter and Mugabe)
Wednesday 6 Jul 2011 9:45 a.m.
They say sport and politics don’t mix but it seems that FIFA and corruption go hand-in-hand.
Two men with a tale or two to tell about clinging to power met in the Zimbabwe capital Harare.
Hours after arriving in the southern African nation on a private jet, FIFA President 'Sepp' Blatter was greeted at State House by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
Blatter survived the corruption allegations engulfing world football's governing body to secure a fourth term in office last month.
The game in Zimbabwe has also been mired in controversy.
On Monday, an advance party of four FIFA officials, including two match-fixing investigators, arrived in Harare.
Last year, Zimbabwe captain Method Mwanjali and four team-mates admitted taking bribes to lose matches on a 2009 tour to Thailand and Malaysia.
Zimbabwe lost 3-0 to Thailand and 6-0 to Syria and the players said they were paid between $500 and $1,500 US dollars.
Zimbabwe Sports Minister David Coltart said on Monday he hoped the FIFA team, which includes its head of security Chris Eaton, will recommend punishment for those found guilty.
Blatter, who's on two-day visit to Zimbabwe, later held talks with the country's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The 75-year-old Swiss pledged $1-million US dollars over four years to fund football programs in the impoverished country, and a further $500-thousand dollars to support training under FIFA's worldwide Goal Project.
Blatter says he remains committed to giving extra financial support to Africa, despite misgivings within the Executive Committee about the scale of its investment in the world's poorest continent.
"We have made in FIFA a decision when the World Cup went to Africa we shall have a special project and this project was named 'Win in Africa with Africa', and we put 70 million US dollars for this project, $70 million US dollars. And inside FIFA, in the Executive Committee, there were people in our Executive Committee saying 'no, again he gives all to Africa, only to Africa'. By the way, we gave also to the others, a little bit less, but the $70 million went to Africa,” says Blatter.
Blatter's busy schedule on Monday included a meeting with Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) President, Cuthbert Dube, and a visit to a training pitch used by children on the outskirts of Harare.
The FIFA President will travel from Zimbabwe to neighbouring South Africa, where he'll attend the 123rd IOC (International Olympic Committee) Session in Durban.