Sepp Blatter: Agreement for Russia to host 2018 World Cup in place before vote
Regardless of suspension or investigation, Sepp Blatter seems impenetrable – his power and influence rising above sanctions or recommendations. The real question is should the 2018 World Cup to go to Russia? The world seems to say yes….
FIFA in The News: Sepp Blatter has revealed there was an agreement in place for the 2018 World Cup to go to Russia even before the vote took place.
The suspended FIFA president has told Russian news agency TASS that the tournament was always lined up to go to Russia with the 2022 World Cup to be held in the USA – until Michel Platini decided to throw his weight behind Qatar.
Blatter’s comments will spark further controversy over World Cup bidding – England, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Holland spent tens of millions of pounds on bidding against Russia.
Blatter did not expand on who exactly had “agreed” for Russia to be hosts, but claimed the crisis in FIFA had been prompted by England and the USA being “bad losers” as a result of their World Cup bid failures.
Blatter told TASS, “In 2010 we had a discussion of the World Cup and then we went to a double decision. For the World Cups it was agreed that we go to Russia because it’s never been in Russia, eastern Europe, and for 2022 we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers.
“And everything was good until the moment when (French president Nicolas) Sarkozy came in a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar. And at a lunch afterwards with Mr Platini he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed all pattern.
“There was an election by secret ballot. Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was 14 to eight. If you put the four votes, it would have been 12 to 10. If the USA was given the World Cup, we would only speak about the wonderful World Cup 2018 in Russia and we would not speak about any problems at FIFA.”
Blatter, who is facing criminal proceedings in relation to a £1.3million payment made to Platini in 2011 and over TV rights deals sold to Jack Warner, said there was no possibility that Russia would lose the World Cup.
He added: “No, you will never lose the World Cup. It has been anchored in FIFA. There will be no change in the World Cup.”
Asked about English criticism, Blatter replied: “Bad losers. In Great Britain they have made this beautiful game, they have introduced fair play. But there was only one vote going for England. They were eliminated in the first round. Nobody wanted to have England.”
Blatter said the FIFA ethics committee decision to provisionally suspend himself and Platini and secretary general Jerome Valcke was “total nonsense”.
He added: “This is not justice. I put these people into the office, where they are now in the ethics committee and they don’t even have the courage to listen to the secretary general, Platini or me. I called them for the principles of the human rights: before to be suspended or excluded from somewhere you have the right to answer and they have denied this. They made a summary investigation and three days later I was suspended.”
MORE NEWS: Jose Maria Marin, the former head of the Brazil FA, has agreed to be extradited to the USA, the Swiss justice ministry has announced.
The 83-year-old Marin was one of seven FIFA officials arrested on May 27 in a dawn raid at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich on FBI corruption charges.
FA to investigate Sepp Blatter’s claims Russia 2018 World Cup agreed before vote
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has said the governing body will look into suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s revelation that there was an agreement in place for the 2018 World Cup to go to Russia even before the vote took place.
The FA spent £21million on England’s 2018 failed bid including £2.5million public money from local authorities, and Dyke said it would be “very nice” to get that money back.
Blatter told Russian news agency TASS that the tournament was always lined up to go to Russia with the 2022 World Cup to be held in the USA – until Michel Platini decided to throw his weight behind Qatar.
Dyke, giving evidence to the culture, media and sport committee, said: “We will look into detail at what Mr Blatter says. Yes I suspect the response [from him] will be ‘I was misquoted’.
“If he says that then I think there is something to investigate.
“There’s nothing Mr Blatter says that surprises me much. If he is saying ‘we wanted Russia’ and it looks like he wanted that fixed before the vote, it’s suggesting that it was all fixed anyway.”
Asked if the FA would look to reclaim the bid costs, Dyke replied: “We will obviously go back and look at it. I think it would be a good idea. But get the bid costs back from whom? From FIFA?
“I agree it would be very nice to get taxpayers’ money back.”
Dyke also said there was no planning document in existence for England to step in at short notice and host the World Cup should it be taken away from Russia or Qatar for any reason.