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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sepp Blater, the President of Fifa, football's world governing body, tends to blow with the wind, changing his mind to suit the occasion and audience. Yesterday he did it again, but this time, for the better. He scrapped his ridiculous, unworkable proposal that the World Cup should be staged every two years.

Since Blatter first mentioned his plan, little but criticism has been heaped on the self-styled great innovator. Thick-skinned though he is, the overwhelming opposition made an impression and he has backed down. "I have put the idea into a safe and have lost the combination," he said. "Let it stay there in peace."

Blatter was speaking in Malta, ahead of England's international match against the host country today, which will help mark the centenary of the Maltese FA. Although he has been a fervent supporter of the South African bid to stage the 2006 World Cup finals, his opinion - again - appeared to have altered. Or at least mellowed.

"When I started my campaign to become Fifa President, I said that we should give the 2006 World Cup to South Africa," he said. "But I have always said that would only be when and if an African candidate fulfilled all the technical, security and infrastructure requirements. That is a very important addition to what I have said in the past."

Blatter confirmed that Fifa is still attempting to produce a globally uniform calendar for international fixtures, despite its logistical complexities. It intends also to explore a possible restriction on foreign players, despite opposition from the European law on freedom of trade.

"We have no weapons to stop the free circulation of European citizens but we have to protect the national identity of clubs," Blatter said. "It is not good for national sides if a lot of teams have a majority of players not eligible to them."
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