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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Morocco stand firm
Saad Kettani with Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Kettani says Blatter should not be blamed for Morocco's failure
Moroccan officials have argued that they did all they could to secure the 2010 World Cup finals.

Visibly tired and having apparently lost weight, bid chief Saad Kettani said Morocco had faced an uphill battle against South Africa, which benefited from having former president Nelson Mandela in their campaign team.

"I don't think we would have been able to alter the course of events, especially with the presence of Mandela," he said.

We presented a good bid
Saad Kettani, Morocco's bid chief

World football governing body Fifa chose South Africa on 15 May as the first African host of the World Cup finals.

Morocco, bidding for the fourth time, was four votes behind the South Africans, who got the backing of 14 members of the 24-man Fifa executive.

"We presented a good bid and we worked on it with all our hearts," said Kettani at a news conference on Monday, his first in Morocco since the vote.

Some observers in the Moroccan media have questioned the impartiality of Fifa president Sepp Blatter in the bidding process, with one journalist accusing him of working against Morocco's bid shortly after the decision was announced at the World Trade Centre in Zurich.

While Kettani said that promises might have been made to South Africa after it lost by a single vote to Germany for the right to host the 2006 finals, he said no blame should be laid at Fifa's door.

"One must show sportsmanship and congratulate South Africa," he said.

Blatter chastises Morocco
17 May 04  |  African
Morocco blames Blatter
15 May 04  |  African

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