The English word football may mean any one of several team sports, depending on the national or regional origin and location of the person using the word. So where English is a first language the unqualified use of the word football is used to refer to the most popular code of football in that region; the sports most referred to as football are Association football, American football, Australian rules football, Canadian football, Gaelic football, rugby league football and rugby union football. Of the 45 national FIFA affiliates in which English is an official or primary language, 43 use football in their organisations' official names. Soccer is the prevailing term for association football in the United States and Canada, where other codes of football are dominant. In 2005, Australia's association football governing body changed its name from soccer to football to align with the general international usage of the term. In 2006, New Zealand decided to follow suit. There are many other languages where the common term for association football is phonetically similar to the English term football.
An early reference to a ball game, football comes from 1280 at Ulgham, England: "Henry... while playing at ball.. Ran against David". Football was played in Ireland in 1308, with a documented reference to John McCrocan, a spectator at a "football game" at Newcastle, County Down being charged with accidentally stabbing a player named William Bernard. Another reference to a football game comes in 1321 at Shouldham, England: "during the game at ball as he kicked the ball, a lay friend of his... ran against him and wounded himself". Although the accepted etymology of the word football, or "foot ball", originated in reference to the action of a foot kicking a ball, this may be a false etymology. An alternative explanation has it that the word referred to a variety of games in medieval Europe, which were played on foot; these sports were played by peasants, as opposed to the horse-riding sports more enjoyed by aristocrats. In some cases, the word has been applied to games which involved carrying a ball and banned kicking.
For example, the English writer William Hone, writing in 1825 or 1826, quotes the social commentator Sir Frederick Morton Eden, regarding a game — which Hone refers to as "Foot-Ball" — played in the parish of Scone, Perthshire: The game was this: he who at any time got the ball into his hands, run with it till overtaken by one of the opposite part. Conversely, in 1363, King Edward III of England issued a proclamation banning "...handball, football, or hockey. The Oxford English Dictionary records that the first written use of the word "football" used to describe a game was in 1424 in an Act forbidding it; the first written use of the word football to describe the ball was 1486, that the first use as a verb was in 1599. Although the OED just indicates it is a compound of foot and ball, the 1486 definition indicates that a ball was of the essence of the game; the word "soccer" originated as an Oxford "-er" slang abbreviation of "association", is credited to late nineteenth century English footballer, Charles Wreford-Brown.
However, like the William Webb Ellis rugby story, it is believed to be most apocryphal. There is the sometimes-heard variation, "soccer football". Within Australia the term "football" is ambiguous and can mean up to four different codes of football in Australian English, depending on the context, geographical location and cultural factors. In the states of Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania the slang term footy is used in an unofficial context, while in these states the two rugby football codes are called rugby. There is a different situation in New South Wales, Queensland and ACT, where rugby union or rugby league are most popular, football can refer to those codes. Australia-wide, soccer is used to describe association football, with this usage going back more than a century, with football gaining traction since Soccer Australia was renamed Football Federation Australia in 2005. In Canada, football refers to Canadian football. American football can be referred to as a full name.
Often differentiated as either "CFL" or "NFL". Because of the similarity between the games, many people in both countries do not consider the two styles of gridiron football separate sports per se, but rather different codes of the same sport which has a shared origin in the Harvard vs McGill game played in 1874 credited with the creation of this sport. If a Canadian were to say, "My brother plays football in the States", it would be clear from context that American football is meant. Canadian French usage parallels English usage, with le football referring to Canadian or American football, le soccer referring to association football; when there is ambiguity, le football canadien or le football américain is used. Rugby union football in Canada is always referred to as "rugby". In most of the English-speaking Caribbe
New Zealand Football Championship
The New Zealand Football Championship is a professional men's association football league at the top of the New Zealand league system. Founded in 2004, the New Zealand Football Championship was the successor to a myriad of short-lived football leagues in the country, including the National Soccer League, the National Summer Soccer League and the New Zealand Superclub League; the league is contested by ten teams in a franchise system. For sponsorship reasons, the competition is known as the ISPS Handa Premiership. Seasons run from October through to April, consist of an eighteen-round regular season followed by a playoff series involving the four highest-placed teams, culminating in a Grand Final; each season, two clubs gain qualification to the OFC Champions League, the continental competition for the Oceania region. The league does not use a system of relegation, unlike most other world leagues. Auckland City are the most successful side with seven titles. A youth competition, called the National Youth League, runs parallel to the regular season from October to December - the most recent champions are Auckland City.
There are two stages to the competition - the regular season, in which each team plays each other twice for a total of 18 games. The two teams that win the league phase and the Grand Final qualify for the OFC Champions League. Should the same team win both the Minor Premiership and the Championship, the second Champions League spot is granted to the league runner-up; this has occurred on numerous occasions. No promotion and relegation exists, making it a closed league - similar to the A-League in Australia and Major League Soccer in the United States. Regular seasonFor the first four seasons, regular season had the teams play each other three times, this was changed to the present home-and-away system in 2008, due to financial difficulties affecting some of the clubs. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams progress to the playoffs. PlayoffsThe playoffs are run as a home-and-away semi-finals series, with the winners progressing to a one-match Grand Final; the playoff phase in the inaugural season was contested by the top three clubs, whereby the Minor Premier received a bye and hosting rights for the grand final, with second and third placed teams playing off in a one-game preliminary final.
The NZFC experimented with a five team playoff in the 2005–06 season, this was discontinued and the league reverted to the three-team playoff system for the 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons. The league changed to its current four-team playoff system in the 2009–10 season; the New Zealand Football Championship was created as a replacement to the former New Zealand National Soccer League, a tournament involving clubs from the regional governing bodies of New Zealand Football. The NZFC was to be run as a summer league involving new clubs created for the new competition, with these new clubs being run jointly by existing winter clubs; the only exception to this was Napier City Rovers, whose summer club would be rebranded Hawke's Bay United during the second season, to be operated jointly by other clubs in the Hawke's Bay region. Eleven groups bid for franchises, with the successful bids being announced on 7 April 2004 as Auckland City, Canterbury United, Napier City Rovers, Otago United, Team Wellington, Waikato FC, Waitakere United and YoungHeart Manawatu, with Olé Madrids, East Auckland and Team Bay of Plenty being excluded.
Unhappy at their exclusion, the Olé Madrids bid team took New Zealand Soccer to court, suing for damages and demanding inclusion in the competition, claiming that, whilst they met NZ Soccer's criteria for inclusion, other successful bids did not. The case was dropped by the Madrids team eight days before the commencement of the first NZFC season; the Olé Academy having had a relationship with Team Wellington holds an exclusive partnership with current league side Eastern Suburbs. East Auckland considered legal action, however this was not pursued; the first match of the competition was on 15 October 2004, with Auckland City defeating Napier City Rovers 3–1 at Park Island, Napier. Auckland City were crowned the inaugural NZFC champions after defeating Waitakere United 3–2 in the final; the second season saw Napier City Rovers rebrand and re-organize their NZFC team as Hawke's Bay United, forming an amalgamated franchise with other local clubs. It saw the first instance of a NZFC team winning the O-League, with Auckland City FC defeating Tahitian team AS Pirae 3–1.
At the conclusion of the 2006–07 season, New Zealand Football granted three-season licence extensions to seven of the eight franchises – all but YoungHeart Manawatu, who had to re-apply due to concerns over the club's financial and organisational situation. However, YoungHeart earned reinstatement after beating out four rival bids – one based in Gisborne, one from North Shore City, two from Manukau. Olé Madrids applied for the licence, however they withdrew early. On 2 September 2010, New Zealand Football announced a five-year sponsorship agreement with ASB Bank resulting in the rebranding of the New Zealand Football Championship to the ASB Premiership. In 2013, after a review of the competition by the ASB Premiership review committee, YoungHeart Manawatu was dropped from the competition after finishing last in the previous three seasons. New Zealand Football confirmed that a team composed of New Zealand players
New Zealand national under-23 football team
The New Zealand Under-23 Football Team, informally known as the "Oly-Whites", represents New Zealand Football and New Zealand in international Under-23 football events, such as the Summer Olympics. The Oly-Whites qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing after winning the OFC Preliminary Competition in Fiji. Thus, Beijing saw the first Olympic appearance for a New Zealand men's football team; the New Zealand national under-23 football team has competed in the OFC Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament since 1991. During the 1980s, the New Zealand national football team participated in Olympic Qualification. 2015 The squad named for the 2015 Pacific Games. Caps listed are only at U23 level and are accurate as of 10 July 2015. Head coach: Anthony Hudson NZ Football Olympic Page OlyWhites historical results
The South American Football Confederation is the continental governing body of football in South America and it is one of FIFA's six continental confederations. The oldest continental confederation in the world, its headquarters are located in Luque, near Asunción. CONMEBOL is responsible for the organization and governance of South American football's major international tournaments. With 10 member football associations, it has the fewest members of all the confederations in FIFA. CONMEBOL national teams have won nine FIFA World Cups, CONMEBOL clubs have won 22 Intercontinental Cups and four FIFA Club World Cups. Argentina and Uruguay have won two Olympic gold medals each, Brazil has won one Olympic gold medal, it is considered one of the strongest confederations in the world. The World Cup qualifiers of CONMEBOL have been described as the "toughest qualifiers in the world", for their simple round-robin system, entry of some of the top national teams in the world, leveling of the weaker national teams, climate conditions, geographic conditions, strong home stands and passionate supporters.
The Confederation is planning to create the first women's qualification to the FIFA Women's World Cup to replace the Copa América Femenina. Juan Ángel Napout was the president of CONMEBOL until 3 December 2015 when he was arrested in a raid in Switzerland as part of the U. S. Justice Department's bribery case involving FIFA. Wilmar Valdez was interim president until 26 January 2016 when Alejandro Domínguez was elected president; the Vice presidents are Ramón Jesurum, Laureano González, Arturo Salah. In 1916, the first edition of the "Campeonato Sudamericano de Fútbol", now known as the "Copa América", was contested in Argentina to commemorate the centenary of the Argentine Declaration of Independence; the four participating associations of that tournament gathered together in Buenos Aires in order to create a governing body to facilitate the organization of the tournament. Thus, CONMEBOL was founded on 9 July 1916 under the initiative of Uruguayan Héctor Rivadavia Gómez, but approved by the football associations of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
The first Constitutional Congress on 15 December of that same year, which took place in Montevideo, ratified the decision. Over the years, the other football associations in South America joined, with the last being Venezuela in 1952. Guyana and the French overseas department of French Guiana, while geographically in South America, are not part of CONMEBOL. Consisting of a French territory, a former British territory, a former Dutch territory, they are part of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football due to historical and sporting reasons. With ten member nations, CONMEBOL is the smallest and the only continental land-based FIFA confederation; the main competition for men's national teams is the Copa América, started in 1916. CONMEBOL runs national competitions at Under-20, Under-17 and Under-15 levels. For women's national teams, CONMEBOL operates the Copa América Femenina for senior national sides, as well as Under-20 and Under-17 championships. In futsal, there is the Copa América de Futsal and Campeonato Sudamericano de Futsal Sub-20.
The Campeonato Sudamericano Femenino de Futsal is the women's equivalent to the man's tournament. CONMEBOL runs the two main club competitions in South America: the Copa Libertadores was first held in 1960 and the Copa Sudamericana was launched by CONMEBOL in 2002 as an indirect successor to the Supercopa Libertadores. A third competition, the Copa CONMEBOL, started in 1992 and was abolished in 1999. In women's football CONMEBOL conducts the Copa Libertadores Femenina for club teams; the competition was first held in 2009. The Recopa Sudamericana pits the past year's winners of the Copa Libertadores against the winners of the Copa Sudamericana, came into being in 1989; the Intercontinental Cup was jointly organised with UEFA between the Copa Libertadores and the UEFA Champions League winners. Legend1st – Champion 2nd – Runner-up 3rd – Third place 4th – Fourth place QF – Quarterfinals R16 – Round of 16 R2 – Second round GS – Group stage 1S – First Knockout Stage Q – Qualified for upcoming tournament • – Did not qualify – Did not enter / Withdrew / Banned – Hosts Legend1st – Champions 2nd – Runners-up 3rd – Third place 4th – Fourth place GS – Group stage Q – Qualified for upcoming tournament •• – Qualified but withdrew • – Did not qualify × – Did not enter / Withdrew from the Copa América or withdrew from the Confederations Cup / Banned – Hosts Legend1st – Champions 2nd – Runners-up 3rd – Third place 4th – Fourth place QF – Quarterfinals R2 – Round 2 R1 — Round 1 Q — Qualified for upcoming tournament – Hosts Legend1st – Champions 2nd – Runners-up 3rd – Third place 4th – Fourth place QF – Quarterfinals R1 – Round 1 q – Qualified for upcoming tournament •• – Qualified but withdrew • – Did not qualify – Hosts On 27 May 2015, several CONMEBOL leaders we
The A-League is a professional men's soccer league run by Football Federation Australia. At the top of the Australian league system, it is the country's primary competition for the sport; the A-League was established in 2004 as a successor to the National Soccer League and competition commenced in August 2005. The league is contested by ten teams, it is known as the Hyundai A-League through a sponsorship arrangement with the Hyundai Motor Company. Seasons run from October to May and include a 27-round regular season followed by a Finals Series playoff involving the highest-placed teams, culminating in a grand final match; the winner of the regular season tournament is dubbed the'premier' while the winner of the grand final is the season's'champion'. This differs from the other major football codes in Australia, where'premier' refers to the winner of the grand final and the winner of the regular season is the'minor premier'. Successful A-League clubs gain qualification into the continental competition, the Asian Football Confederation Champions League known as "AFC Champions League".
Similar to the United States and Canada's Major League Soccer, as well as other professional sports leagues in Australia, Australia's A-League does not practice promotion and relegation. Since the league's inaugural season, a total of six clubs have been crowned A-League Premiers and five clubs have been crowned A-League Champions; the current premier is Perth Glory. The current champions are Melbourne Victory, who won the 2018 A-League Grand Final, equaling the record of four domestic titles held by Marconi Stallions, South Melbourne, Sydney City; the A-League does not recognize the history of its predecessor, the National Soccer League, the nations premier football competition from 1977 to 2004. A national round-robin tournament existed in various forms prior to the formation of the A-League, with the most notable being the National Soccer League; the formation of the NSL came after Australia's qualification for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, which led to discussion of a national league, with 14 teams chosen to participate in the inaugural season of the NSL in 1977.
Under the guidance of the then-governing body, the Australian Soccer Federation, the NSL flourished through the 1980s and early 1990s but fell into decline with the increasing departure of Australian players to overseas leagues, a disastrous television deal with the Seven Network and the resulting lack of sponsorship. Few clubs continued to grow with Sydney Olympic, Perth Glory, the newly established Adelaide United the exception in a dying league. In April 2003, the Australian Federal Government initiated the Independent Soccer Review Committee to investigate the governance and management of the sport in Australia, including that of the NSL. In December 2003, the Crawford Report found that the NSL was financially unviable, in response the chairman of the sports new governing body, Frank Lowy of Football Federation Australia, announced that a task force would be formed to create a new national competition as a successor to the NSL which dissolved at the conclusion of the 2003–04 season after 27 years of operation.
The A-League was announced in April 2004, as a successor to the NSL. Eight teams would be part of the new national competition, with one team from each city of Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, plus a New Zealand team and one from a remaining expressions of interest from either Melbourne or Sydney; the competition start date was set for August 2005. By June 2004, 20 submissions had been received and a month 12 consortiums sent in their final bids for the eight spots. Three bids were received from Melbourne, two each from Sydney and Brisbane, one from each of the remaining preferred cities and a bid from the New South Wales Central Coast city of Gosford. Over the next three months, each bid was reviewed and on 1 November 2004, the eight successful bidders and the major sponsor were revealed, for what would be known as the Hyundai A-League, with the Hyundai Motor Company unveiled as the official naming rights sponsor for the league; the eight founding teams for the league were Adelaide United, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, New Zealand Knights, Perth Glory, Queensland Roar and Sydney FC, with three former NSL clubs taking part, those being Adelaide United, Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory, as well as Queensland Roar and New Zealand Knights who were formed from NSL clubs Brisbane Lions and New Zealand Football Kingz.
Each club was given a five-year exclusivity deal in its own market as part of the league's "one-city, one-team" policy. This was intended to allow clubs to grow and develop an identity in their respective region without local competition. On 26 August 2005, 16 months after the demise of the NSL, the inaugural season of the A-League began; the first season would see Adelaide United win the premier's plate by seven points over Sydney FC with Central Coast and Newcastle filling the final two spots in the final series. In the final series, it was Sydney that took out the title after they defeated Central Coast by a Steve Corica goal to claim the first title on 5 March 2006. On 20 March 2007, it was announced that Wellington Phoenix would replace New Zealand Knights from the start of the 2007–08 season. Both Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury joined the league in the 2009–10 season. On 12 June 2009, Melbourne Heart was awarded a licence to join the 2010–11 season. On 1 March 2011 North Queensland Fury's A-League licence was revoked for financial reasons.
On 29 February 2012, Gold Coast United had its licence revoked. On 4 April 2012 it was announced that a new We
Fiji national football team
The Fiji national football team is Fiji's national men's team and is controlled by the governing body of football in Fiji, the Fiji Football Association. The team plays most of their home games at the ANZ National Stadium in Suva. Fiji first participated in FIFA World Cup qualification in 1982, their best result was a final round appearance in 2010. The national team represents Fiji at the OFC Nations Cup having appeared in eight out of ten previous tournaments. Fiji's best result is a third-place finish at the 2008 editions, they have won the Melanesia Cup five times and competed in the Pacific Games from 1963 until 2015 when the competition became an under-23 tournament. Fiji's first international football game was against a New Zealand side, touring Oceania and had played four games against New Caledonia; the international, which took place on 7 October 1951, saw New Zealand getting the win 6–4. Jock Newall got a hat-trick for New Zealand. New Zealand returned the following year, with Fiji losing all three games, including a 9–0 drubbing in the second match.
After being absent from the international game for eleven years, the Fiji Football Association joined FIFA in 1963. That same year, the national team entered the first edition of the South Pacific Games, held in Fiji. In that tournament, the country appeared in its first gold medal match after defeating Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, but lost the match to New Caledonia 8–2. Marc-Kanyan Case scored four goals for Fiji was relegated to silver. After missing 1966, the team's next tournament appearance was in the 1969 Games held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, they finished in fourth place out of six teams after losing to Papua New Guinea in the bronze medal playoff. Two years Fiji finished at the bottom of Group two with losses against New Caledonia and New Hebrides, they would, defeat the Cook Islands in the fifth place play-off. As a member of the Oceania Football Confederation, Fiji played in the first edition of the OFC Nations Cup held in New Zealand in 1973, they did not win a match in the four games they played during the tournament.
Competing at the 1975 South Pacific Games the national team, under coach Sashi Mahendra Singh, made the semi-finals of the competition where they lost to Tahiti. In the third-place playoff, they lost to the Solomon Islands by a goal. After John Lal became the new coach for Fiji in 1977, his first match as coach was an unofficial game against Taiwan which ended in a two-all draw before taking on Australia who played Taiwan because of the soccer ban in the country. On 19 March 1977, they took on Australia at Buckhurst Park. Seven national players from Ba F. C. were unavailable due to a planned tour of New Zealand. After holding off the Australians for the first forty-five minutes, Jimmy Okete scored the only goal of the game; this was a shock to the locals since the team struggled in the two tours to Australia in 1961 and 1968 against the state teams. Under the orders of new coach, Moti Musadilal, they played some pre-tournament friendlies against New Zealand conceding nine goals in the two games before competing at the 1979 South Pacific Games in Suva.
After getting a nil all draw against Papua New Guinea, they scored their biggest win against Kiribati winning by twenty-four goals. After defeating Wallis and Futuna in the quarter-finals and Solomon Islands in the semis, they made it to their second Pacific Games final against Tahiti. In front of over twenty thousand people, Fiji came up short again with Errol Bennett scoring a double to give Tahiti the gold medal. Fiji's next tournament was the 1980 OFC Nations Cup where they were grouped with New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Tahiti. After defeating the Solomon Islands in the opening game, they were expected to lose against New Zealand who were the favourites to win the group. On 27 February 1980, they became the first Fijian team to defeat a New Zealand team with Dewan Chand and Meli Vuilabasa both scoring two goals in the victory. Fiji did not make it to the final, they lost first to Tahiti 6–3, lost the third-place playoff to New Caledonia 2–1, in what was the last Oceania Cup for sixteen years.
The following year saw a new coach with former New Zealand coach Wally Hughes leading the team into their first World Cup qualifiers. After opening with a four-goal defeat against New Zealand, they drew with Indonesia nil-all, before defeating Chinese Taipei 2–1 to be in third place with three points. For Fiji that momentum was short-lived, they finished at the bottom of the group after conceding twenty-three goals in the final two games against Australia and New Zealand. Hughes resigned after the Australian game stating, "I wouldn't wish on any coach what I have been through," suggesting that bribery was involved in the defeat to Australia. After two years absence from international football, the national team, under Rudi Gutendorf, competed at the 1983 South Pacific Games in Samoa. After finishing top of the group that featured New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, they defeated Papua New Guinea 2–0 in the quarter-finals before knocking off New Caledonia in the semi-final. In the final, they lost to Tahiti by a single goal, contested by the players who attacked the referee and linesmen.
Another similar incident in a friendly against New Zealand happened the following year. This led to a one-year ban of international matches being held at Fiji. Fiji's next tournament was the 1988 Melanesia Cup held in the Solomon Islands; the national team won the final against the Solomon Islands 3–1 to claim their first title. In that year, they competed in the first round of the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification against Australia, with the motivation of five hundred Fijian
Joseph "Sepp" Blatter is a Swiss football administrator, the eighth President of the FIFA from 1998 to 2015. He is on a six-year ban from participating in FIFA activities. From a background in business, public relations, sports administration, Blatter became general secretary of FIFA in 1981 and was elected president at the 51st FIFA Congress on 8 June 1998, succeeding João Havelange, who had headed the organization since 1974. Blatter was reelected in 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015. Like his predecessor Havelange, Blatter sought to increase the influence of African and Asian countries in world football through the expansion of participating teams in various FIFA tournaments, he has persistently been dogged by claims of corruption and financial mismanagement. Blatter's reign oversaw a vast expansion in revenues generated by the FIFA World Cup accompanied by the collapse of the marketing company International Sport and Leisure and numerous allegations of corruption in the bidding processes for the awarding of FIFA tournaments.
On 2 June 2015, six days after the United States government indicted several current and former FIFA officials and sports marketing companies for bribery and money laundering, Blatter announced that he would call for elections to choose a new president of FIFA and that he would not stand in these elections, but he said he would remain in his position until an extraordinary FIFA Congress could be held for his successor to be elected. Criminal proceedings were announced against Blatter by the Swiss Attorney General's office on 25 September 2015, regarding "criminal mismanagement... and misappropriation". In October 2015, Blatter and other top FIFA officials were suspended amid the investigation, in December the independent FIFA Ethics Committee ejected Blatter from office and banned him from taking part in any FIFA activities over the following eight years. On 24 February 2016, a FIFA appeals committee upheld the suspension but reduced it from eight years to six. Issa Hayatou served as the acting President of FIFA until an extraordinary FIFA Congress was held in late February, electing Gianni Infantino as the 9th president of FIFA.
Blatter was born in Visp in the Swiss canton of Valais with the given name of Josef. He studied in Saint Maurice, before getting a degree in business and economics from the University of Lausanne in 1959. Blatter has had a long and varied career, including posts such as head of public relations for the tourist board of his native canton, as well as general secretary of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation, he was Director of Sports Timing and Relations of Longines S. A. and was involved in the organization of 1976 Olympic Games. From 1975 onwards, Blatter worked at FIFA, first as technical director general secretary, before his election as FIFA president in 1998, he was re-elected as head of FIFA in 2002, was re-elected unopposed for another four years on 31 May 2007 though only 66 of 207 FIFA members nominated him. Blatter and FIFA have been dogged by controversy and allegations of corruption, his tenure has seen controversy over allegations of financial mismanagement and the acceptance of bribes resulting in Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid.
Blatter has attracted criticism from the media, senior football figures and players, due to controversial statements. These include the claim that Latin American countries would applaud John Terry for having an extramarital affair, that on-field racism could be corrected with a handshake, among others, he drew criticism at the 2014 FIFA World Cup seeding, when he interrupted a "one-minute silence" for former South-African president Nelson Mandela, who died the day before, after eleven seconds. Michael van Praag, the chairman of the Royal Dutch Football Association, called his behavior "preposterous" and expressed the hope Blatter would not be reelected in 2015. Blatter has been publicly heckled, at the World Cup in Seoul and the Confederations Cup in Frankfurt, both in 2006, in his home town of Visp in 2011, at the 2012 Women's Olympic Football Final Medal Ceremony, at the opening of Confederations Cup match in 2013. In order to avoid protest, no speeches were given at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Sepp Blatter's 1998 election to the presidency of FIFA over UEFA President Lennart Johansson occurred amidst much controversy. Blatter's 2002 candidacy has been marked with rumours of financial irregularities and backroom dealings, culminating with direct accusations of bribery, by a third party, made in the British press by Farra Ado, vice-president of the Confederation of African Football and president of the Somali Football Federation, who claimed to have been offered $100,000 to vote for Blatter in 1998. In the 2006 FIFA World Cup, after a controversial second-round match between Portugal and the Netherlands, which saw referee Valentin Ivanov issue a record 16 yellow cards and four red cards, Blatter was said to have lambasted the officiating referee, said that Ivanov should have given himself a yellow card for his poor performance as a referee, he claimed to regret his words and promised to apologise to Ivanov. However, this apology was never given, the referee was removed from further officiating.
Blatter was criticized in 2007 and 2008 for trying to change European Union employment law regarding the number of foreign players that football clubs could field at any one time. His plans were to set a restriction of five foreign players and having six players from the said team's own nationality. Blatter believed this would help the countries' national sides by having more national players playing in their leagues. Blatter has referred to the English Premier League as one of the major problems in foot