Premier League – McLeish blasts Blatter comments



Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has hit out at FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s decision to investigate Martin Taylor’s leg-breaking tackle on Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva.

FOOTBALL 2007 Scotland Alex McLeish - 0



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And McLeish believes Blatter’s interest could mask a “hidden agenda” against the English game and the style of play in this country.

Blatter wants to look further into the challenge made by Taylor during the Premier League clash at St Andrews a fortnight ago.

The Gunners player will be out of action for the rest of the year but Taylor insisted the tackle was not malicious and Eduardo is satisfied there was no ill intent in the mis-timed challenge.

But Blatter appears determined not to let the matter rest and wants the Football Association to release details of the matter to him with a view to possibly increasing the ban.

McLeish said: “This just seems to keep going on and bubbling under. I am disappointed with Sepp Blatter. He is in a job just now where if he were to look at every tackle every week in every European game, he would be out of a job because he would have to ban everyone.

“We wouldn’t have any football and Sepp would have to do something else. It is disappointing a man of that standing is saying things like he is. He is in the game because of football and teams and the way it is. For him to say that is poor for a man of his stature.

“(When) I heard his comments I was flabbergasted. Sepp has probably seen the extent of Eduardo’s injury and some of the pictures in the papers and he has been horrified because of that.

“The people who know the game know it wasn’t a malicious tackle, simple as that.

“Could there be a further suspension? Sepp Blatter could go to court with that one and he would fail 100 per cent. They (FIFA) have no jurisdiction over this.”

McLeish added: “People keep making statements about this tackle and Sepp Blatter has opened it up again. It is disappointing but no-one can take Sepp to task. He is the top man.

“Why is he talking about it? For me, there could be a hidden agenda here and he is having a go at the English game. I think he thinks the English game is too robust.”

McLeish has no fresh injury worries ahead of Wednesday’s re-arranged Premier League clash with Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Midfielder Olivier Kapo is the only player ruled out with the hamstring injury that kept him out of the 4-1 home win against Tottenham 10 days ago.

McLeish said: “Confidence is good. The last game was the Spurs game and the players have that fresh in their mind but we know Portsmouth are an extremely tough side to play against.

“I watched them at Old Trafford in the FA Cup at the weekend and they are a big strong side but also have people with ability and they can bring back people like Jermain Defoe, who was cup-tied against Manchester United.”

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