What's Buzzing:

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)

View Comments (0)
  • Van Gaal got what he deserved at Man United, says Gullit

    (Reuters) - Manchester United were right to sack Louis van Gaal after the club failed to qualify for next season's Champions League, according to his fellow Dutchman Ruud Gullit. Van Gaal, who guided his side to a fifth-place finish in the Premier … More »

    Reuters - 1 minute 17 seconds ago
  • French union leads new anti-reform protests, seeks to maintain momentum

    French union leads new anti-reform protests, seeks to maintain momentum

    By Brian Love and Ingrid Melander PARIS (Reuters) - France's hardline CGT union sought to choke off power and fuel supplies and hamper the country's public transport network on Thursday in a showdown with a government that flatly refused to … More »

    Reuters - 7 minutes ago
  • Benitez has full control over football matters at Newcastle

    Benitez has full control over football matters at Newcastle

    (Reuters) - Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has been assured full control of football-related decisions by the club's hierarchy as he aims for the side's immediate return to the Premier League. The 56-year old signed a three-year deal to … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 27 minutes ago
  • Guardiola will transform Man City, predicts Ancelotti

    Guardiola will transform Man City, predicts Ancelotti

    (Reuters) - Incoming manager Pep Guardiola will give Manchester City a new identity, replicating the possession-based football that was the hallmark of his trophy-laden stint with Barcelona, according to his Bayern Munich successor Carlo Ancelotti. … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 34 minutes ago
  • Bale feels right at home in Madrid

    Bale feels right at home in Madrid

    It took more than two seasons but Gareth Bale finally feels settled at Real Madrid and is dreaming of big things to come. The Wales international will play his second Champions League final with Real in three seasons in Milan on Saturday. Bale, … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 48 minutes ago