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Monday, January 8, 2007

President Blatter "Apologizes"

Today in Rome, all of the members of the Italian National Team received the prestigious honor of "Cavaliere" by President Napolitano. This is similar to the OBE (Order of the British Empire) or the Medal of Freedom in the USA. Strangely, FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, who is a Swiss citizen, was on hand to pay tribute to the same men he disrespected in Berlin.

Tradition dictates that the FIFA President hand the World Cup trophy over to the winning captain. But Herr Blatter decided to remain in the stands when UEFA President Johannson gave the Cup to Fabio Cannavaro. Then Mr. Blatter went to Australia, and said that Italy shouldn't have arrived at the quarterfinals. And that a final decided by penalties was "a tragedy."

Today, he said that his words were misinterpreted by our Australian friends. "Italy is a deserving champion and an excellent team... I made a mistake not to hand them the trophy, but I didn't want to be whistled."

Mr. Blatter hands out the trophies at competitions around the world, but he chose to blatantly avoid the Azzurri during their moment of glory. When Brazil defeated Italy on penalties in 1994, I didn't hear him (an assistant to the President) or anyone else affiliated with FIFA say that their triumph was a tragedy? The president of any organization should set a high standard. Not a lower one as Mr. Blatter exemplified on 09 July 2006 in Berlin.

Like Rodney Dangerfield used to say "I can't get any respect." The mantra of Italian calcio. Even after 4 World Cup victories, along with 1 Olympic Gold Medal. Not even the Samba Kings can match that combination. Yes, Brasil has never won Olympic Gold.

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