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World Cup: FIFA pressuring Mandela, family says

July 11, 2010 |  4:22 am

Mandela580_l4zntjnc The Associated Press reported Sunday that Nelson Mandela's family is claiming FIFA has put "extreme pressure" on South Africa's former president to attend the World Cup final.

The 91-year-old anti-apartheid icon has kept a low profile during the monthlong tournament, having decided against attending the opening game on June 11 following the death of his great granddaughter.

FIFA is yet to announce who will present the trophy to either Spain or the Netherlands at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

"We've come under extreme pressure from FIFA requiring and wishing that my grandfather be at the final today," Mandela's grandson, Mandla, told BBC radio. "But I think that decision will solemnly lie with him, how he wakes up today, how he feels, what his medical team says, but as well his family.

"My grandfather is 92 years old next week. This is an evening game. He's expected to hand over the trophy after the game which could be anything from 10:30 to 11 and it will be quite strenuous on his part."

Mandla Mandela later told The Associated Press that FIFA was being "inconsiderate," given that the family is still in mourning.

"My grandfather has recently lost a great granddaughter and the family is in mourning," Mandela said. "They should be appraised of our customs and traditions."

Mandela's 13-year-old great granddaughter, Zenani Mandela, was killed in a car crash while returning from the World Cup opening concert.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said it would be "wonderful" for Mandela to be at the final, having been instrumental in bringing the first football World Cup to Africa.

"It is possible at the beginning of the match or just at the end of the opening ceremony, he may be present on the field of play," Blatter said in a BBC interview recorded before Mandla made his comments.

-- Kevin Baxter reporting from Johannesburg

Photo: Ghanaian striker Kevin Prince Boateng, left, greets former President Nelson Mandela at his Houghton, South Africa, residence on, July 3. Credit: AP Photo / Debbie Yazbek,Nelson Mandela Foundation

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