Blatter's secret weapon in bid to reform Fifa? Opera

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The Independent Online

The controversial president of world football's governing body, Sepp Blatter, has revealed the latest recruit to his senior advisory panel, charged with offering advice to the embattled organisation. Step forward... Spanish opera singer Placido Domingo.

Domingo joins 88-year-old former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and Dutch football legend Johann Cruyff on the committee. There was no suggestion Blatter was willing to trade influence at Fifa for a few used tenors, but the announcement will still raise eyebrows. The Swiss, though, was characteristically defiant: "These gentlemen are not experts but advisers," he said, "a kind of 'council of wisdom'. Placido is happy, he is proud to be part of it."

Blatter went on to explain that he had no intention of ordering an investigation into the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, in the light of recent allegations of bribery within the organisation. A leaked email from a Fifa official last week suggested that Qatar had "bought" the showpiece tournament. The official subsequently clarified his remarks and Blatter appears happy to let the matter rest.

"I don't know why we should open something because somebody said something," he said, adding that he would not block Fifa's ethics committe from opening an investigation if they wished to do so.

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