Fifa to investigate North Korea punishment claims

Sepp Blatter has confirmed that Fifa will look into claims of mistreatment of North Korea's players and coach.

Widespread reports this month claimed that the team's manager in South Africa, Kim Jong-Hun was sentenced to hard labour and his squad were subjected to a six-hour interrogation by government officials following a World Cup campaign which ended with three straight defeats.

Blatter yesterday told a press conference in Singapore that Fifa had contacted the new president of the North Korean football association and were looking into the matter.

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"(We contacted them] to tell us about the election of a new president, and if it is true, the allegations made by the media that the coach and some players have been condemned or punished," he said.

"The first step is the federation and we'll see what the answer will be, and then we can elaborate on that."

Fifa take a dim view of government interference in footballing matters and have often in the past suspended the footballing federations of countries where such practices took place.

It is believed that athletes in the secretive Communist country led by dictator Kim Jong-il have previously been jailed for poor performances.

Blatter also confirmed that the matter of goal-line technology would be on the agenda at the International Football Association Board meeting in October.

Meanwhile, Fifa have also confirmed that the planned visit of their inspection group to Russia is expected to go ahead as planned despite the wildfires currently sweeping across the country.

The group is due in Russia from 16 to 19 August as part of the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.