Maradona slams Blatter's presidency, saying he knows 'nothing'

Argentina’s living-legend football player Maradona rejects Sepp Blatter’s FIFA presidency, saying he knows nothing

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Argentina's World Cup winning captain Diego Armando Maradona launched a blistering attack on FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Monday, saying that world soccer's governing body had descended into anarchy with the 79-year-old Swiss in charge.

With the FIFA presidential election less than a month away, Maradona, one of the greatest players to ever grace the game and the inspiration behind Argentina's 1986 World Cup victory, said the time was long overdue for Blatter to go.

He said he would do all he could to help Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein win the election, even though the 39-year-old Jordanian royal hinted on Monday he might consider pulling out of the contest if he thought one of the other two challengers could win.

In a syndicated interview with Guillem Balague, the moderator at the Soccerex Asian Forum at the King Hussein convention centre by the Dead Sea, some 60 kilometres from the Jordanian capital Amman, Maradona pulled no punches and gave his backing to the Jordanian royal.

Asked why, he replied: "If I didn't believe it, I wouldn't have accepted the challenge. As the football world knows, inside FIFA there is total anarchy, where there is only one man who decides everything. But he knows absolutely nothing. Therefore it is time for a change, and it is so because even his colleagues should actually advise him to leave."

Maradona, 54, who was voted along with Pele the joint-best player of the 20th century by FIFA in 2000, said he believed that the continued presence of Blatter, who is seeking a fifth term as president, would continue to harm football.

"He has done a lot of damage to football since he has been there. It's time for him to step aside and let us, who are coming in with a lot of energy, rebuild football, which is getting weaker and more corrupt," he said.

Maradona played in the World Cups of 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1994 and later coached Argentina to the World Cup quarter-finals of 2010.

He implied he was unhappy about way things were done at FIFA, particularly regarding the choice of Russia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals.

"First we didn't know where the World Cup was going to be held," said Maradona. "Then we found out it was going to be Brazil, then Russia and then Qatar. Without any doubt whatsoever Blatter is scared. Blatter is scared. He's scared of being left out and losing his share of the cake. That is what really annoys someone like me, who has played in four World Cups. I do know what it feels like running after a ball, not like him who has been running after glasses of champagne."

TRTWorld and agencies