FIFA Congress goes off well

The FIFA congress passed off without any escalation of tension. In the end, reason prevailed after all the mudslinging leading up to the event. Joseph Blatter, in his good speech before re-election as president, pledged to make the necessary reforms. In future, for instance, the World Cup hosts will not be chosen by the 24-strong executive committee, but by the 208 delegates of the member associations. This is certainly a good, democratic idea.

It was the evening of June 1. We had been through two strenuous days at the FIFA congress in Zurich and the news that Bayern Munich had managed to sign goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on a five-year contract came as a big relief.

We at Bayern had long been in agreement with Schalke 04 on a transfer fee. We were just waiting for Neuer to be released from his contract which ran until 2012. And which club would like to give up the best goalkeeper in the world, even for a double-digit million fee?

I was also glad that the FIFA congress passed off without any escalation of tension. In the end, reason prevailed after all the mudslinging leading up to the event.

Joseph Blatter, in his good speech before re-election as president, pledged to make the necessary reforms. In future, for instance, the World Cup hosts will not be chosen by the 24-strong executive committee, but by the 208 delegates of the member associations. This is certainly a good, democratic idea. I am, in any case, pleased that Sepp Blatter has the backing to stand for a fourth term and in the next four years will be able to promote a successor.

My seat in the executive committee will be taken by the German Football Federation (DFB) president Theo Zwanziger. All the travelling for FIFA and UEFA became too much for me in view of my other commitments. But I won't be completely lost to FIFA as I am leading a task force which is looking into possible improvements to the game. My old friend Pele, with whom I played in 1977 and '78 at New York Cosmos, will be my deputy. We are consulting with former world class players such as Bobby Charlton, Fernando Hierro and Cafu.

I oppose using technical aids on a large scale, or making great changes, apart perhaps from introducing a goal camera. What I do like is the additional refereeing official behind the goals as seen in the Champions League. They are in a better position than the referee to see whether a goal has been scored or not.

FIFA and UEFA should also understand that the faster the game the more difficult it is for the human eye.

One cannot praise Pep Guardiola's team high enough for their development. If Barcelona stay free from injuries their hegemony could last a long time. I can't see an English team being able to break their domination in the near future, especially after Manchester United received such a lesson at Wembley Stadium, something which must have been really painful.

The biggest rival for Barcelona is in their own country in the shape of Real Madrid. Coach Jose Mourinho did after all manage to beat Barca 1-0 in the Spanish Cup final. England's Premier League is strong, but I think the Spanish Primera Division is stronger. And I believe the German Bundesliga is getting close to both of them.

It's a little bit unfortunate to have the Euro 2012 qualifiers now, although it really is difficult to find a better solution in view of the packed match calendar. Players finished their leagues hardly a month ago and have had to wait to play in, what is for some, relatively unimportant games.

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