Sepp Blatter meets Pope Francis
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has paid the Pope a visit today.
Blatter took time out of his busy schedule to squeeze in a visit to Pope Francis in Rome along with members of the Italian and Argentine rugby teams.
Blatter said he responded to the pope’s request for FIFA to help the favelas of Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 World Cup, with a promise to ‘do what we can.’
That’ll be nothing then.
Francis, a longtime member of the San Lorenzo club in Buenos Aires, now has another football shirt to add to his collection.
“We spoke the same language and it was language of football,” Blatter said. “It was really a meeting between two sportsmen and two football fans.”
And, it should be added, a meeting between two men who have absolute authority over their respective flocks.
“We have 1.2 billion people and (the pope) said, ‘I have no more than 1 billion,”’ Blatter said with a laugh.
Meanwhile, perhaps humbled by his encounter with God’s representative on earth Blatter also chose the occasion to speak out against the abuse of migrant workers in Qatar.
“We deplore what happened there,” Blatter said, whilst also noting that the responsibility for the workers’ fate lies not with FIFA, but with the major European companies building Qatar’s World Cup infrastructure.
“The big companies working there, they are all European,” Blatter said. “The constructor is also responsible for his workers.”
“It was political pressure from European countries to bring this World Cup to Qatar because there was so many economic interests.
“Two of these countries that made pressure on the voting men in FIFA were France and Germany. This is established. This is not new information.
“It’s easy to say all the responsibility lies on FIFA. No, we are part of this responsibility. We are now monitoring the situation and we will come back to it.”