for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Olympics-FIFA's Blatter moved by Lula's Rio 2016 bid speech

COPENHAGEN, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Sepp Blatter, head of world soccer’s governing body FIFA, heaped praise on Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday after his speech in support of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic candidacy.

Lula, in Copenhagen to back Rio’s effort to become the first South American city to host the Games, had addressed International Olympic Committee (IOC) members in the final presentation prior to the vote later on Friday.

“I told the president (Lula), whom I know very well for a long time, that his speech went under my skin,” Blatter, also a voting IOC member, told Reuters.

“It is what I have advocated: that we should have a kind of rotation system also with the Olympic Games,” Blatter said.

Rio is up against Chicago, who had U.S. President Barack Obama speaking to the IOC session earlier on Friday, Tokyo and Madrid.

Lula and Blatter hugged and had a brief, warm discussion after Rio’s presentation, accidentally meeting outside the hall.

“I was so glad to see him and told him it was a very good speech,” Blatter said.

While FIFA have a rotation system in place, meaning soccer World Cups alternate between continents, the IOC has no such procedure and the Games have yet to go to an African or a South American country.

Speaking for Rio de Janeiro, Lula had said Brazil was the only one of the world’s 10 most powerful nations to have never staged the Games.

“I honestly think it is Brazil’s turn,” he said. “It is South America’s bid. This is a continent that has never held the Games. It is time to address this imbalance.”

Brazil will host the 2014 soccer World Cup while South Africa is gearing up for the 2010 tournament.

Editing by Clare Fallon; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up