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Opera singer Domingo joins bid to restore FIFA’s image

June 7, 2011

LONDON: Embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter has turned to opera singer Placido Domingo to help restore the tarnished image of football’s world governing body.

The Spanish-born tenor will form part of a “solutions committee” which also includes former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Netherlands forward Johan Cruyff.

“These gentlemen are more or less advisers. They are not the experts but advisers, and what they should be also is the kind of council of wisdom — which my Executive Committee would not like because they think they are the council of wisdom,” Blatter, who was voted in unopposed for a fourth term as president last week, told CNN in an interview Monday.

“Placido Domingo will be part — he is happy, he is proud that he is part — as Kissinger also! People say he (Kissinger) is an old man, but he is a wise man.”

Blatter secured another four years in charge of FIFA after a vote in Zurich Wednesday and immediately pushed through changes intended to make the choice of World Cup hosts more democratic and beef up the fight against corruption.

The crisis that has engulfed FIFA recently centred on Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief Mohamed Bin Hammam’s ultimately aborted campaign to take on Blatter in the election. It also re-ignited the debate over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Bin Hammam’s home country Qatar.

Bin Hammam was provisionally suspended by FIFA over bribery allegations along with FIFA vice-president Jack Walker while a leaked email written to Walker by FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke suggested Qatar had “bought the World Cup.”

Valcke later clarified his comment, saying Qatar had merely used its financial muscle to lobby support. Qatar has denied any wrongdoing.

The 75-year-old Blatter said his newly-formed committee would decide whether Qatar’s winning bid needed to be examined.
“Let me work now on this new approach of the ethics committee, let me work with this committee of solutions,” he said. “And if this committee of solutions or the ethics committee have the impression that they should do something then let them take the decisions.”



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