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German league boss backs WCup boycott

GERMANY-LAND-1A top German league official on Saturday backed calls for a European boycott of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar over corruption allegations.

Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert told the Suddeutsche Zeitung daily that a “boycott would be the most efficient arm” if Europe could unite to take on global governing body FIFA.

“As a serious organisation, we (Germany) no longer feel represented by this FIFA, we no longer feel that we are a member,” he added.

“Seventy-five percent of the players in the World Cup are under contract in Europe and if Europe says ‘we will no longer participate’, then that changes everything,” Seifert said.

“FIFA could certainly suspend Germany, England, Italy and Spain for the next three World Cups but that would have no impact. Because there would be no more World Cup.”

But Seifert said a boycott could only work if Europe was united in taking such a decision “which I doubt a lot.”

But the German official attacked the decisions of FIFA, which has 209 member associations.

“Unfortunately, you have to say that many countries do not have the same ethical rules that we do,” Seifert said.

“As a serious organisation, we no longer feel represented by this FIFA, we no longer feel that we are a member,” he added.

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FIFA has strongly rejected calls made by some politicians in Europe and the United States for a boycott of the Russia World Cup over the Ukraine crisis.

But European football officials are increasingly talking of a boycott over the 2010 votes which gave the next tournaments to Russia and Qatar.

Qatar in particular has faced corruption allegations which it has strongly denied.

A former US federal prosecutor Michael Garcia carried out an investigation into the 2010 and 2022 votes. He is now disputing the conclusions of the report with FIFA’s ethics chief Hans-Joachim Eckert.

David Triesman, a former chairman of the English Football Association and a former British government minister, has backed calls for a European boycott of the World Cup if FIFA does not change its decision-making.

Triesman, a member of Britain’s House of Lords, led England’s failed bid for the 2018 World Cup.

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