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Monday, 6 May, 2002, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Hayatou: Corruption report is 'troubling'
Issa Hayatou and Sepp Blatter
Hayatou says he and Blatter will remain friends
Fifa presidency candidate Issa Hayatou has attacked his rival Sepp Blatter after a report released by Secretary-General Michel Zen-Ruffinen revealed serious corruption within football's governing body.

"The revelations are very troubling," Hayatou said.

"What we have seen from this report is extremely serious. It's very negative."

The Cameroonian said that his own mission would be to make Fifa transparent and democratic.

Open Quote
I could beat Blatter in Europe. He could not beat me in Africa
Close Quote
Issa Hayatou

"Over the past year, too much energy has been lost on personality issues and other useless problems," he said.

"We need to concentrate our energies on working for world football."

Hayatou said he still regarded Sepp Blatter as a friend, having known him for 26 years, and expected the friendship to continue after the elections.

"But, at the same time, I will do everything to push my candidature," he added.

Hayatou acknowledged that Blatter had made efforts to help African football, but said his own achievements far outstrip those of the 66-year-old Swiss Fifa boss.

"There is no point of comparison," he said. "I have been president of Caf for over 14 years.

Fractures

"In that time I have assured Africa five World Cup places. The African Cup of Nations has 16 teams rather than eight.

"In previous times, the Cup of Nations would be lucky to get 100 journalists. At the last tournament there were over 1,000.

"I could beat Blatter in Europe. He could not beat me in Africa".

Hayatou said he was confident that at least 45 out of 52 African federations would back him when it came to the election on 29 May, and dismissed reports of fractures and factionalism within African football.

"When I stood for re-election there were 48 federations for me and three against," he said.

"If that is your definition of 'serious divisions' then I would agree Caf is divided.

"But there is no correlation between the negative reporting and what is happening on the ground."

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