By Andrew WarshawDecember 6 - FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke (pictured) has fuelled further tension between the world governing body and English football by suggesting that they not always feel welcome in the country.
Published on Monday, 05 December 2011 09:16
FIFA has had a strained relationship with the English Football Association after relentless corruption stories in the British media which many believe led to some FIFA Executive Committee members voting against England for the 2018 World Cup.
At a news conference in Paris announcing the three-man shortlist for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or, Valcke appeared to suggest that FIFA, which has switched the event to Paris from its Zurich headquarters, did not consider London a suitable candidate.
"We'd need to discuss between ourselves whether it's Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, London - London, I don't know - Paris, Barcelona, Madrid or other European cities," he said.
Afterwards, Valcke, whose words have been prone to misinterpration on a number of occasions - not least when he was quoted as saying that Qatar "bought" the 2022 World Cup -explained he simply meant that FIFA would prefer to visit countries that have provided Ballon d'Or nominees.
Yet he conceded that relations with England were frosty.
"It was because all the winners and the names on the list come from Spain, so it was to say that it would make sense that if we wanted to recognise that, we could go to Spain," he said.
"Are we not welcome in England?
"I don't know.
"If I read the media every day, it's true that, personally, my feeling is a bit that - but that's my own feeling."
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