Sepp Blatter admits Russia 2018 World Cup was ‘agreed before vote’
The suspended Fifa president has revealed the details of a “discussion” that took place in 2010 about future World Cups.
Sepp Blatter has claimed there was an agreement in place for the country to host the 2018 World Cup – before the vote took place.
He also said that a change in voting that handed Qatar the 2022 World Cup scuppered a a similar agreement to hand it to the United States.
Blatter is serving a 90-day ban alongside Uefa chief Michel Platini – although both deny any wrongdoing.
He revealed the controversial agreement after being asked whether it was a mistake to hold voting for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments simultaneously.
“It was agreed inside the group that we go to Russia because it has never been to eastern Europe, and for 2022 we go back to America,” he told Russian news agency Tass.
“And so we would have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers.”
The bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments is the subject of an ongoing Swiss criminal investigation.
It was begun alongside a US inquiry following the arrest and indictment of several top executives by the US Department of Justice on corruption charges.
Unsurprisingly, many are outraged by Blatter’s revelation, with FA chairman Greg Dyke saying the FA will investigate Blatter’s revelation about the 2018 World Cup.
Giving evidence to the UK Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Dyke said it would be “very nice to get taxpayers’ money back”, adding that the FA would “talk to our own lawyers, but this is uncharted territory”.
Blatter’s comments are the latest controversy to surround the FIFA boss.
The 79-year-old quit amid a corruption scandal surrounding the global football governing body.
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He is also seen by many LGBT advocates as an obstacle when it comes to challenging homophobia and transphobia in football.
In 2010, he dismissed concerns that Qatar is homophobic, despite laws punishing gay sex with up to five years in prison.
When asked about gay football fans visiting Qatar, he said: “I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.”
LGBT rights groups in 2010 said they were “deeply concerned” by FIFA’s decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
Echoing their fear, out gay former Leeds Utd footballer Robbie Rogers in January spoke out about upcoming World Cups in both countries, saying it is “insane” that they are being held there, given their poor records on LGBT rights.