Football: Redknapp challenges report

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The Independent Online
The controversy surrounding the Football Association's report into betting last week continued yesterday with Harry Redknapp challenging Sir John Smith, the report's author, to name footballers who had placed bets against their own team.

The West Ham manager said: "If Sir John Smith really knows the names of players who have done that then surely he has to name them, because it is a slur against all of us. Footballers don't know what spread betting is. It's too clever for the average player. Most players aren't interested in betting at all. I know of only one player in my squad who likes a bet."

Redknapp - who put a pounds 20 bet on five results on Saturday and got all five wrong - said: "It's just a bit of fun, what's wrong with that? Nobody is going to make a fortune on the fixed odds. People are talking rubbish about something they know nothing about. It's too silly for words."

Meanwhile his striker, John Hartson, insisted yesterday that he saw nothing wrong in opening a betting shop in east London on Saturday. "Harry [Redknapp] asked if I would do it. But all of the proceeds from the bets went to charity."

Egidius Braun, the president of the German football federation, has criticised Fifa's general secretary, Sepp Blatter, for selling the TV rights to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups inside his country to a pay-per-view company. Braun also said Fifa needs to be more democratic and stop taking unilateral actions. "It's not his [Blatter's] job to make politics. The general secretary should only carry out what the member organisations decide," he said. Braun also believes support for Germany's bid to host the 2006 World Cup is dwindling inside Fifa, possibly because some believe the country is too dominant.