Premier League boss says Fifa stole football from England
Dave Richards compounds his embarrassment by falling into a hotel fountain
PREMIER LEAGUE chairman Sir Dave Richards has been forced to issue a grovelling apology after accusing Fifa and Uefa of "stealing" football from England at a meeting in Doha, Qatar, where he also told his hosts they had their "heads in the sand" over the drinking culture that surrounds the sport.
But the icing on the cake was yet to come. Richards stumbled, fully-clothed, into a water-feature. "[He] rounded off a damaging day for English football's international reputation by falling into what was variously described as a hotel swimming pool or fountain on his way to dinner," reports The Guardian.
Richards, also a vice-chairman of the Football Association, said: "England gave the world football. Then, 50 years later, some guy came along and said, you're liars, and they actually stole it. It was called Fifa. Fifty years later another gang came along called Uefa and stole a bit more."
He then turned to the issue of alcohol and its availability in Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup.
"In our country and in Germany, we have a culture. We call it, 'We would like to go for a pint and that pint is a pint of beer'. It is our culture as much as your culture is not drinking.
"If you don't do something about it, you are starting to bury your head in the sand because it needs addressing."
Richards later said: "My comments on the heritage of the game were intended to be light-hearted. They clearly have not come across in that way and I sincerely regret making them.”
However the damage has already been done.
"Both Fifa and Uefa declined to comment when asked for a response. But neither needed to spell out how the comments come at a delicate time for British football’s international relations," reported The Daily Telegraph. ·