Diego Maradona says FIFA has "so much stupidity" with a different scandal every day. The former Argentine World Cup winner is in Dubai taking up a new role as coach of league team Al Wasl.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (JUNE 4, 2011) REUTERS -Diego Maradona said on Saturday (June 4) there is "so much stupidity" in world soccer body FIFA and that it was run by men who did not understand the game.
The Argentine great, appearing at his first news conference as coach of United Arab Emirates' side Al Wasl, was dismissive of this week's unopposed re-election of 75-year-old Sepp Blatter as FIFA president for another four years and said that he wanted no part of the organisation.
"They have invited me to be part of the FIFA family," said the man who coached his country to the quarter-finals of last year's World Cup in South Africa. "And I ask, 'what family?' This is not a family if no one plays soccer. No one is asking what can be done to improve soccer. There are motorcyclists, swimmers, race car drivers, but there is not one soccer player that can give advice. So much power and so much stupidity in FIFA. Everyday, it's a different scandal. And this, the soccer players don't deserve this."
Blatter was re-elected to a fourth and final mandate after his Qatari opponent Mohamed Bin Hammam withdrew from the race amid cash-for-votes allegations.
Maradona flew in to Dubai late on Friday to sign a two-year contract with Al Wasl, a side that has won seven national titles but none since 2007.
Saturday's news conference at a five-star hotel on the Palm Jumeirah, a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree off the coast of Dubai, was attended by around 100 reporters and more than 20 television crews.
Those numbers, with journalists from as far afield as Spain and Japan, contrasted with the usual handful of media in attendance for most matches in the 12-team national league.
Al Wasl's average home crowd at league matches this season is 3,360, with fewer than 1,000 at three of their home matches.
Maradona is due to watch his new team in action on Sunday night when they play Sharjah as part of the final round of matches, before taking charge ahead of the new season which begins in September.
"Regarding soccer, I wanted to work, and a proposal came to me from the people of Al Wasl and I liked the idea of this city, of the project and of these people. We have a competitive team and we are dedicated everyday to improving things about the team," said Maradona.
Al Wasl are fifth in the 12-team Etisalat Pro League. The top four sides qualify for next year's Asian Football Confederation Champions League.
The UAE league has been regarded as something of a final stop before retirement for some of the world's top players.
Liberia's former World Footballer of the Year George Weah played for this year's champions Al Jazira from 2001-2003, while former Italy World Cup captain Fabio Cannavaro is currently playing for Al Ahli.