The President of Fifa, the World football governing body, Sepp Blatter, has alleged that there were “political interventions” from former presidents of France and Germany, ahead of the voting for the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups.
Blatter, who is enmeshed in a myriad of corruption allegations, claims former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his German counterpart, Christian Wulff, sought to influence vote-makers before the two tournament hosts were announced in December 2010.
In a story published on Sunday in a German newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, Blatter was quoted as saying: “Before the World Cup was awarded to Russia and Qatar, there were two political interventions.
“Mr. (Nicolas) Sarkozy and (Christian) Wulff tried to influence their voting representatives. Therefore, we now have a World Cup in Qatar. The people who decided this should also take responsibility,” he added.
He continued: “Just look at all the German companies – the Deutsche Bahn (German railways) Hochtief and many more all already had projects in Qatar before the World Cup was awarded there.
“I act on the leadership principle. If a majority of the executive committee wants a World Cup in Qatar then I have to accept that,” Blatter said.
Russia was awarded the 2018 World Cup while Qatar was named as hosts for the 2022 tournament, with the voting process for both events being embroiled in controversy and criticism since. The Swiss authorities are currently investigating the bidding process around the two tournaments.
The embattled football chief also insisted he has “nothing to fear” on a personal level as an investigation into corruption at FIFA which has seen 18 people indicted in the United States continues.
“I am here to fight, not for myself but for FIFA. Criticism doesn’t hurt me – what does hurt are the tirades of hatred. Envy has turned into hatred. I am afraid people want to destroy FIFA, which is my product.
“Everybody has fears, for example of dying, but I have nothing to fear in view of my work at FIFA. I am not afraid,” the 79-year-old added.
Though Blatter claimed he had nothing to fear, many say his absence at the Women’s World Cup finals in Canada late Sunday was out of caution not to be swooped upon by preying American law enforcement agencies.
Blatter announced on June 2 he would step down from the FIFA presidency at an extraordinary congress to be held between December and March.
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