'It was not about money'

At the end of a significant year for world soccer's governing body in which the World Cup was held in Africa for the first time, Blatter told FIFA's website (www.fifa.com) that the criticism the ruling body had received was not justified.  "The sporting media don't always appreciate the social or cultural importance of awarding the World Cup finals to a country," he said.

"They just think about penalties, corners, refereeing and money. But, as I've already said, this decision wasn't about making money." Blatter added that after giving previous World Cups to Asia and to Africa, it was "natural" for FIFA to take the tournament to other regions.

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