Soccer

Blatter to speak with Cuba officials after players defect

{eot}
The Canadian Press
10/15/2012 8:48:19 AM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

GENEVA -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter plans to speak with Cuban officials after three national team players defected in Canada ahead of a World Cup qualifier last week.

The players disappeared nine months after two players with the Cuba women's team fled to the United States following a match against Canada in Vancouver.

Blatter said Monday that the defections had become "a presidential question" for FIFA and not just an issue for the competitions department.

"This we cannot let just stand there -- it will not work," he told reporters at a briefing.

Blatter will study FIFA's reports into the latest incident in Toronto last Thursday before acting.

The FIFA president said he will personally contact "the sports authorities in Cuba, but giving them a copy to give to their political authorities."

Cuba had just 11 players available to face Canada on Friday and lost 3-0.

Cuba was already eliminated from contention in its group, and sent an inexperienced squad to Canada -- prompting suggestions that top players were left at home to prevent them defecting.

"As with any Cuban sport team that travels around the world, they're all chasing the American dream," Cuba coach Alexander Gonzalez said after the match about the missing players. "And it's difficult to try to keep the team together. Obviously it's a difficult situation for the team and it's tough for me to talk about it."

Blatter, whose scheduled visit to Cuba next week was postponed earlier this month, said he plans to visit the Caribbean island in either February or March.

The FIFA president declined to be drawn into a football politics squabble between Uruguay and FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce of Northern Ireland.

Uruguay officials wrote to Blatter last week demanding he censure Boyce for singling out their forward Luis Suarez of Liverpool as a major culprit in making diving a "cancer" of the sport.

Blatter said he believed that officials "should not identify players" to make a point about potential misconduct, but it was not a significant issue.

"This declaration is a very, very small part of the problems we have to deal with in the world of football," Blatter said.

Sepp Blatter (Photo: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

zoom

(Photo: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story


Podcasts

TSN FC with Luke Wileman, Jason deVos & Kristian Jack - August 26

Luke, Jason & KJ recap the start to the EPL season, Crystal Palace's search for a manager, Malky Mackay, plus chat MLS as well.

TSN 690 oranges @ halftime Aug 19

Joined in studio w/Paul Desbaillets co-founder of annual soccer charity event GOAL MTL. We chat w/Susan Bell, Danny Smiles, UM02 Carlos & Heath Pearce

TSN 690 oranges @ halftime Aug 19: Susan Bell

Fund Development Director of Tyndale St-George discusses GOAL MTL's legacy and the impact the funds raised have on her community


More Podcasts

Premier League Shows on TSN.ca

TSN.ca is Canada's exclusive home to highlight and feature programs from the Barclay's Premier League. Check out the latest programs on VOD below.


Net Busters

See all the goals, saves, bloopers and quotes from each week

- Episode 2


BPL Match Pack

Weekly match preview show using interesting facts & figures

- Week 2

TSN TweetBox
© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television