Blatter criticises 'childish' England players

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The Independent Online

Sepp Blatter, the president of football's world governing body Fifa, will tell Sven Goran Eriksson today that his England players were wrong to boycott the media last week.

Sepp Blatter, the president of football's world governing body Fifa, will tell Sven Goran Eriksson today that his England players were wrong to boycott the media last week.

Blatter is meeting the England coach as part of a visit to Britain and the players' action after their victory in Poland last Wednesday - in response to criticism of their performance against Austria four days earlier- will be top of the agenda.

Blatter, speaking in London, also criticised the decision by the referee Steve Bennett, who gave Everton's Tim Cahill a second yellow card for pulling his shirt over his face after scoring against Manchester City on Saturday.

Regarding the England players, Blatter said: "That will definitely be one of the issues I will talk to him [Eriksson] about because he does not know my position on that.

"The players should be not only able to communicate but they should be willing to communicate and I would say that for any team. What they did was childish.

"There has to be fair play on both sides, those that give the information and those that receive the information. If there is to be a total veto or blackout by the players, this is totally wrong and the players also suffer if they are forbidden to speak to the media.

"There has to be a balance of criticism of players of a national team, but those such as England, France, Germany or Brazil are identified as public personalities. They are national team players and they have an obligation to communicate and to accept from time to time that they are criticised."

On the Cahill decision, Blatter said the whole issue of removing shirts would be discussed by Fifa next month to clear up any confusion.

He added: "A referee should never expel a player just because he pulled his shirt over his head; he should just have a word with him. If you take off your shirt and wave it over your head that's different."

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