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Sepp Blatter says 2018 & 2022 World Cup hosts were decided well before the vote took place

The Fifa president has given a remarkable interview to Russian media.
Oct 28th 2015, 12:18 PM 5,766 8

SEPP BLATTER HAS given an incredible interview to Russian media in which he says there was a general agreement in place to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to the United States.

Speaking to TASS, the country’s news agency, the Fifa president – currently serving a 90-day suspension due to being at the centre of both a criminal and internal investigation, the 79-year-old talked openly about the current scandal engulfing football’s governing body and a variety of other topics.

The most alarming statement he makes is regarding the controversial awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar. When asked if he regretted holding the voting process for both tournaments at the same time, Blatter responded by saying the host countries had already been decided.

“In 2010 we had a discussion about the World Cup and then we went to a double decision”, he said.

For the World Cups it was agreed that we go to Russia because it’s never been in Russia or eastern Europe and then 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 (former French president Nicolas) Sarkozy came to a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar (Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani).

And at a lunch afterwards with Mr. Platini he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed the whole pattern. There was an election by secret ballot. Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was fourteen to eight. If you put the four votes to the USA, it would have been twelve to ten. 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.”

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France Soccer Champions League Michel Platini pictured with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy in February of this year. Source: Michel Euler/AP/Press Association Images

Blatter blaming Platini for everything is a recurring theme in the interview, with the veteran administrator saying that Uefa have wanted to remove him from Fifa for a while and that he has had a strained relationship with Michel Platini ever since 2008, when he felt he was ‘sidelined’ during Euro 2008.

Blatter also gave his explanation for why he’s being investigated by Fifa and the Swiss authorities. A payment of €1.8m was made to Platini in 2011, nine years after he carried out the work as Blatter’s advisor.

When he (Platini) was chairman of the organizing committee for the France World Cup, he told me at the end of the Cup, “I would like to work for you.” And I said this is great because we all already worked with him. It was in 1998. And then he said that I am very expensive. I said okay. So he said, “I am worth one million a year.” I said I cannot pay this, it’s impossible. And he said, “Okay, then pay me later.” So we have made some contract, where he got some money, but not one million.

In 2010 he approached the financial director of FIFA by saying, “Hey, listen, FIFA owes us money.” I was informed about that and I said, okay let him make an invoice of this what we owe him. And then he said we owe him two million Swiss francs. And then I analyzed that and I said okay. Yes, it’s a contract we have made. And it’s a principle I have in my life that if you owe money to somebody, then you pay it. Then we paid it. That’s all. And this money was not paid for any other reasons.”

Blatter also said that the 2018 World Cup will not be taken from Russia and that the calls to strip the country of the tournament have only come from ‘bad losers’ in the British media.

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Eoin O'Callaghan


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