Blatter full of praise for England on visit to 10 Downing Street

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The Independent Football

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, praised the transformation of English football since the dark days of hooliganism in the 1980s when he visited Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street yesterday as part of England's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup. Blatter also claimed if Italy had taken similar measures it would have avoided the trouble at Tuesday's match against Serbia in Genoa.

Blatter said that England had shown the world the way by driving hooligans out of the game and he wished other countries had the safe, modern stadiums England had built in the last 20 years. "If this had been the case in Genoa yesterday we would not have had the problems we had at the [Italy v Serbia] match. This is a big legacy, an important legacy you have given to the world."

Blatter told Cameron: "You have given to the world security in the stadiums. You have built all your stadia, there are no fences and everyone is sitting. You did it here – and now we say where are the hooligans? They are not in the stadiums and this is a compliment to your government and your predecessors."

He praised England's World Cup bid, emphasising that although he knew England could "organise the World Cup tomorrow", their legacy message that it was a "World Cup for the world" had impressed him. "The situation is such that your bid has impressed me personally and I will report this to the Executive Committee when we meet."