In an interview with the Russian news agency Tass, suspended chief of FIFA, Sepp Blatter may have admitted to fixing the vote to host the 2022 World Cup.
In a report published in The Australian, Blatter says “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.”
This would mean Australia’s $41 million bid was never in contention, despite Blatter actively encouraging Westfield boss Frank Lowy to pursue a bid right up until the election in late 2010. Russia won it for 2018 and Qatar for 2022.
“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 (Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani),” Blatter said.
“And at a lunch afterwards with (UEFA chief) Michel 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 was suspended in October for 90 days, along with FIFA vice-president Michel Platini, and FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, also for 90 days, and former FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon for six years.
The result of the suspensions will be determined by pending investigations by the ethics committee.
FIFA is set to elect a new president on February 26. That election was the result of Blatter’s decision in June to step down as president.
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