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Blatter opposed to age limits for FIFA officials

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is against age restrictions for officials in soccer’s governing body although he would be prepared to accept a limit on the length of time they can hold office, he said yesterday.

The 76-year-old Swiss said he was also opposed to standing areas in soccer stadiums, placing him on a collision course with both the Bundesliga and the national league in his homeland.

“I’m in favour of limiting the length of time officials can serve but against an age limit,” he told Germany’s Sport Bild magazine.

“Capabilites have nothing to do with age. There are 70-year-olds who are young in the head. But a mandate limit could have a chance.”

A draft revision of FIFA’s statutes includes a proposal to impose an age limit of 72 on officials at the time they are elected. It would also limit the FIFA president to two four-year mandates and the executive committee members to three four-year mandates.

The proposal is due to be discussed at FIFA’s annual Congress in Mauritius next year.

Paraguay’s Nicolas Leoz is the oldest member of FIFA’s executive committee at 83, while senior vice-president Julio Grondona, 80, has been on the committee since 1988.

Blatter is in his fourth term as FIFA president, though he has repeated that he does not intend to stand again at the next election in 2015.

Blatter said he remained unconvinced by the popularity of standing areas in Germany’s Bundesliga.

“We preach to the whole world to do away with standing places,” he said.

“In Colombia, the stadiums were rebuilt because of the world Under-20 championship, now families can go to matches, it is going really well.

“Everyone sits down and that is good, it’s good for the safety.”

“The Bundesliga is the only big league in Europe which still has standing places.”

The Swiss Super League also permits standing-room and earlier this year, FIFA backed down from partially funding a new stadium in its home city of Zurich because plans included a small area of terracing.

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