Blatter accepts responsibility for Mastercard deal

FIFA President Joseph S Blatter has insisted the responsibility for the Mastercard dispute which cost the world governing body £45million rests solely on his shoulders. Blatter was speaking after the appointment of former marketing chief Jerome Valcke to the post of FIFA General Secretary.Valcke, a leading light at sports marketing agency SportFive and French TV network Canal+ before joining FIFA, succeeds Urs Linsi after his contract was not renewed. The 46-year-old will assume the role of a chief executive and as such become one of the most powerful men in football.

Blatter defended the appointment and said Valcke had not been dismissed, merely suspended. "This is not the responsibility of Jerome Valcke, this is the responsibility of the President of FIFA. He was not sacked, he was suspended and he is still under contract with FIFA, " he said as quoted by Martyn Ziegler, PA Chief Sports Reporter.

He also confirmed that £15 million of the £45 million MasterCard compensation deal was to settle the trademark dispute over the two-globes symbols used by both parties."This is like a fish bone being removed from my throat," added Blatter. "Our partners were suing us since 2002 in over 30 disputes in various parts of the world concerning the trademark. This has been solved. It is quite a lot of money but I think it can be digested."

He also said the decision of a US appeal court to vacate the original court ruling was a "rehabilitation" of Valcke and the three other marketing executives. Valcke's new appointment means Blatter will pass on some of his day-to-day administrative tasks and concentrate more on strategic decisions.