Blatter talks up beach soccer’s Olympic chances
02 Sep 2011
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has stated he is pushing for beach soccer to be included in the programme for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Speaking at the opening of the 2011 Beach Soccer World Cup in Ravenna, Italy on Thursday, Blatter revealed proposals already exit to include the sport at Rio 2016, but added local organisers need to support the bid. Beach soccer could be included on the 2016 programme as a discipline of football, not as a separate sport. It would need approval from the International Olympic Committee’s executive board ahead of the Games.
“It would be a great thing for the Olympics to include beach soccer, especially at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro,” said Blatter. “There’s a long way to go, however. First it requires the initiative of the organisers of the Olympic Games. We’d have to see what is possible and what isn’t. If beach soccer does become an Olympic sport, it should be for both men and women.”
Meanwhile, the FIFA president has criticised Italian football authorities for allowing their domestic season to be hit by strike action. “One shouldn’t reach a situation in which a season cannot begin,” said Blatter. “It’s a question of respect for the fans who follow football all over the world. Whoever is responsible for this situation, it is like going to La Scala in Milan and waiting for the start of a grand opera which never begins. Football is also a social and cultural matter. Italy is the country of football. Here football is more than a game, it’s a religion.”