FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Wednesday ignored criticism in Germany of the strict rules governing food and drink in World Cup stadiums, saying the tournament belonged to FIFA not Germany.
“I need to be clear about this once and for all: the World Cup does not belong to Germany, this is not a German World Cup. It is a FIFA World Cup in Germany that cost us 1 billion Swiss francs,” Blatter told Bild in an interview.
FIFA has agreements with 21 firms sponsoring the tournament, which starts on June 9, and has placed restrictions on the presence of non-sponsors in Germany’s 12 World Cup stadiums.
For instance, U.S. beermaker Anheuser Busch’s Budweiser will be the only beer sold in the grounds.
“It was on the basis of these ground rules that Germany was given the World Cup,” Blatter said.
“They approved them, not only the German Football Association (DFB) but also the government.”
Blatter also defended a decision by FIFA in January to cancel the World Cup opening gala in Berlin due to concerns that it would ruin the pitch at the city’s Olympic Stadium.
“This was the best decision we made. Unfortunately it was much too late,” Blatter said.
Asked whether an outbreak of bird flu in Germany threatened the soccer tournament, Blatter said : “At the moment no.
“But if bird flu developed into a threat like the plague or cholera, if people are infecting people, then the government must take a decision. We would have to respect that. That is clear.”
Subscribe to World Soccer – The essential football magazine