LONDON: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has stepped in to back the open mutiny by Chelsea's Romanian striker Adrian Mutu who defied his team manager's orders to join his national side for the World Cup qualifiers.
Blatter expressed dissatisfaction over ongoing “club versus country” arguments, targetting Chelsea and Coventry City for reportedly trying to prevent two players from joining up with their national sides.
Blatter said FIFA would be contacting the clubs following complaints made in the media by Mutu and Coventry's Trinidad and Tobago forward Stern John.
Mutu claims Chelsea tried to forbid him from playing for Romania in a World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic on injury grounds, although the player insisted he was fully fit.
John meanwhile, who has only recently joined Coventry City from Birmingham City, says he was told by Coventry manager Peter Reid that he risked being dropped if he joined up with his national side for their World Cup qualifiers against St Kitts & Nevis and then Mexico next Saturday and Wednesday.
Blatter said FIFA would be asking both clubs to show “more fair play” but said the organisation could not take any action unless it received formal complaints from either of the players.
“These are examples of what we cannot accept when we are trying to find viable solutions to the international calendar for the good of associations and teams,” he added.
Mutu's days as a Chelsea striker appear to be numbered after he accused manager Jose Mourinho of lying about his fitness in a bid to prevent him playing in the World Cup qualifier.
But 25-year-old Mutu says he is fit and has flown out to face the Czech Republic, his defiance fuelling speculation about a possible January move away from London.
“I am in an open conflict with Mourinho who forbade me to go to my national team and said I was injured. It is not true – I have been in good condition for five days and he knew that,” Mutu said.
Mutu may face a fine when he returns to Stamford Bridge, and believes he may now have to find another club.
“I don't care about being fined. I want everyone to know that the national team is the most important thing for me,” he added.
Chelsea are reportedly preparing to use Mutu as a makeweight in a deal to lure young Spanish international Fernando Torres to London from Atletico Madrid. – AFP