Fifa president Sepp Blatter met Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe yesterday during a two-day visit in which he inspected training facilities and pledged $1 million over four years for football programs in the country.
Journalists from the independent press were barred from covering the meeting. Only presidential photographer, ZBC and Herald photographer, Fifa and Zifa photographers were allowed into the State house for Blatter’s visit.
Blatter said another $500,000 will be provided to support football training in Zimbabwe under the Fifa's worldwide Goal Project.
"Football is more than kicking a ball," Blatter said. "I do not come to Africa to impose European football, I respect particularities and culture. Africa has more talent than Brazil but Africa's talent is not yet developed."
“We are very honoured by this great visit by the most powerful man in football, and we hope that that power will rub off into us,” said President Mugabe.
Last year, Zimbabwe captain Method Mwanjali and four team-mates admitted taking between $500 and $1,500 to lose matches on a 2009 tour to Thailand and Malaysia.
Zimbabwe sports minister David Coltart said he hopes the Fifa team recommend punishment for those found guilty.
“We are working with Interpol and governments on the issue of match fixing. These are criminal laws relevant to each country. We have our own statutes- the Disciplinary Committee and the Ethics Committee but we can not intervene at this stage,” Blatter said.
“We will let the jurisidication of the association take precedence and if found guilty we will suspend them for life.”
Commentators on Twitter are less than impressed with Sepp Blatter’s meeting with Mugabe.
“Sepp Blatter meets Mugabe? Does FIFA even have a PR department anymore?” said EstebanSemtex.
“@SeppBlatter just when I thought you couldn't sink any lower, you are on my tv with Mugabe. Shame on you. You are a discrace,” tweeted deangriffiths.
What do you think?