TORONTO — The head of Canadian soccer says the Women’s World Cup may help restore the lustre of world soccer despite the mushrooming FIFA scandal.
The turmoil in the sport’s world governing body took another turn Tuesday as president Sepp Blatter, just four days after winning re-election, announced plans to step down.
Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani welcomed the news of Blatter’s departure, saying change was needed in the FIFA boardroom because “I think we’ve lost our moral compass in the game.”
“Hopefully this is the start of us giving it back.”
Montagliani says the Women’s World Cup will help that.
“The women’s game in a lot of ways is a shining light that may part the clouds here,” Montagliani told The Canadian Press on Tuesday. “Women’s football is in such a pure state in terms of these girls really play for the jersey, really play for the love of the game. We’re not talking big-money athletes. There’s a purity to it.”
But also a little mystery. A CSA spokeswoman, responding to a Canadian Press question about compensation for the Canadian women at the World Cup, said she could not divulge the information because of a confidentiality clause in the agreement between the team and Canada Soccer.
Montagliani did not vote for Blatter at Friday’s FIFA Congress and he says he personally told the FIFA president why.
Blatter was surprised, Montagliani said.
The CSA president said he had not expected Blatter to fulfil his term but was surprised the end came so soon.
Asked how Blatter will be remembered, Montagliani said “probably, in the short-term, not very well.” That cloud will overshadow the fact there was growth during his years as general secretary and then president.
Montagliani says he never saw any signs of shady business in FIFA. He cited cultural differences in doing business around the world, but “there’s a difference between accepting differences and what’s coming out (in the scandal).”
Montagliani was elected president of the CSA in 2012, one year after Blatter ran unopposed.
The native of Burnaby, B.C., was a CSA vice-president for three terms, and has been a member of its executive committee since 2005.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press