MATSUSHIMA: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Saturday that the football organisation had dismissed fears about radiation when choosing quake-striken Japan as the host of this year's Club World Cup.
“There were some voices saying how can you play in a country that has been affected? They didn't speak so much about the tsunami but they spoke about radiation” he told press in the northeastern city of Matsushima.
It was more popular nowadays, Blatter said, “to go against those that are affected (by radiation) instead of helping them. So we did it by bringing the (Club) World Cup here”.
Blatter was visiting one of several football centres in Japan damaged by the March quake and tsunami, with FIFA donating a total of $6 million to the country's football association to help finance rebuilding efforts.
Japan is currently hosting the Club World Cup, almost 9 months after the 9.0-magnitude underwater earthquake and tsunami which left 20,000 dead or missing, devastated large areas of its northeast and sparked a nuclear crisis.
“When there is such a catastrophe it is not enough just to send some dollars and material. It is more important to show the people some confidence.
You have to trust the population of Japan by saying we are with you.” Blatter said.
The FIFA president also added he would consider letting some of the country's damaged football stadiums play host to future Club World Cups.
“Next year it is all open... I am totally in favor of it and sure we can find a stadium. Sendai would be a possibility”
Since the nuclear accident there have been widespread fears in Japan over the long-lasting impact of the disasters and possible contamination of the food chain.