U.N. boss says neutral in World Cup, won't watch South Korea opener

Reuters
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Brazil's President Rousseff watch the match between Brazil and Croatia during the 2014 World cup opening match at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo
.

View photo

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (R top) watch …

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that he is a fan of his native South Korea's soccer team, which open its World Cup campaign against Russia later in the day, but that out of a sense of neutrality he would not tune into the match.

Ban, asked whether he would watch the start of the 'Red Devils' opening match in Group H in Cuiaba, Brazil and his forecast of the score, displayed his diplomatic skills.

"That is a very delicate, sensitive question for me," he told a news conference in Geneva.

"I may not hide my own sentiment and support for the (South) Korean team. But as a Secretary General it would be very important that I need to be impartial. I am supporting all the teams who are participating in the World Cup.

"But you should know that at the same time, when the (South) Korean team is competing with any other team, starting with Russia today, you may expect that my heart may beat much faster than normal time.

"Just to keep my neutrality, I decided not to watch the game. And I will get the report from my staff early tomorrow morning."

Ban is a former foreign minister of the Republic of Korea who succeeded Kofi Annan as U.N. chief in 2007.

The Korean peninsula was divided into the Communist North and pro-American South at the end of World War Two in 1945. North Korea failed to qualify for this year's World Cup contest but played in 2010.

"Sports has extraordinary power to spontaneously unite the people," Ban said, speaking in general terms.

"This is one of the very important powerful tools and means to promote reconciliation, harmony, development and peace."

He travels to Lausanne later on Tuesday for talks with Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"I am going to visit Haiti next month with the IOC President, again to promote peace and stability and economic development through sports," Ban said.

"The IOC has contributed a huge sports complex for youth, in Zambia two years ago. They are going to do same thing in Haiti, I highly commend such an initiative."

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Editing by Nigel Hunt)

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Ibrahimovic tells Pogba to get used to pressure

      Ibrahimovic tells Pogba to get used to pressure

      (Reuters) - Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic has told team mate Paul Pogba to embrace the pressure he is under and use it to his advantage, just as the Swedish striker has done throughout his trophy-laden career. Pogba, who returned to United … More »

      Reuters - 24 minutes ago
    • Milan recover from two-goal deficit to draw at Torino

      AC Milan recovered from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw at Torino, who also missed a first-half penalty, as the visitors finished with 10 men in a dramatic Serie A game on Monday. Torino's Andrea Belotti and Marco Benassi put the home side on … More »

      Reuters - 3 hours ago
    • Brazil issues first license for sale of a cannabis-based drug

      Brazilian healthcare regulator Anvisa on Monday said it had issued the country's first license for sale of a cannabis-based drug in the country after years of legal wrangling with patients. The multiple sclerosis treatment, an oral spray derived … More »

      Reuters - 3 hours ago
    • Goals dry up at Nations Cup as favourites struggle again

      Goals dry up at Nations Cup as favourites struggle again

      The African Nations Cup produced a meagre total of one goal in two matches on Monday as the pre-tournament favourites continued to struggle with holders Ivory Coast held by outsiders Togo. In the second game, Morocco coach Herve Renard, the … More »

      Reuters - 7 hours ago
    • Belotti shines again but Torino still can't beat AC Milan

      Belotti shines again but Torino still can't beat AC Milan

      Italy forward Andrea Belotti has three goals in three matches against AC Milan this season but his Torino club can't beat the Rossoneri. Milan came back from two goals down to draw at Torino 2-2 in Serie A on Monday, four days after eliminating the … More »

      AP - Sports - 8 hours ago