MELBOURNE - Australian senator Nick
Xenophon has continued his crusade against scandal-plagued FIFA,
likening the world football governing body's president Sepp
Blatter to a character in a Monty Python movie.
Xenophon said Blatter's denials of crisis within FIFA were
akin to the "Black Knight" in the British comedy troupe's 1975
film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," who has his legs and
arms hacked off in a sword-fight but called it a "flesh wound."
"Sepp looked completely in denial. He looked like Monty
Python's 'Black Knight'," the independent senator said in a
media release on Tuesday. "FIFA hasn't just received a 'flesh
wound'. It's on the ground bleeding profusely."
Blatter denied FIFA's World Cup bidding process had become
compromised at a bizarre media conference on Monday, publicly
backing 2022 hosts Qatar amid accusations the rich Gulf state
had bought the hosting rights.
Already under the spotlight over allegations that its
executives had bribed FIFA delegates for their votes, Qatar was
further embarrassed when suspended vice-president Jack Warner
produced an email in which general secretary Jerome Valcke spoke
of how the country had "bought" the World Cup.
Valcke later issued a statement denying he meant to suggest
anything corrupt about the Qatar bid. Qatar has denied any
Xenophon, who described the media conference as "bizarre",
reiterated his calls on Monday for FIFA to "refund" the A$46
million ($49.17 million) Australia spent on its failed bid for
the 2022 World Cup.
Australia, awarded the 2000 summer Olympic Games, drew just
one vote, prompting cries of foul play and criticism of the
federal government for financially backing the bid.
"Australians love to win, but we don't mind losing as long
as the game is fair," he said. "It is now quite clear that we
could never have won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup
because it was fixed."
Football remains a small player in Australia's crowded sports
market next to indigenous Australian Rules football and rugby
league, but the FIFA scandal has touched a raw nerve among the
"The bidding process itself will need to change before
nations have the confidence to invest the large sums required to
bid for the World Cup again," Australia's federal sports
minister Mark Arbib told local media on Tuesday.
Arbib likened the scandal to that which engulfed the 2002
Winter Games when International Olympic Committee delegates were
found guilty of taking bribes in exchange for votes for the
winning Salt Lake City bid.
"FIFA will need to undergo a reform process similar to what
the International Olympic Committee undertook after Salt Lake
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