FIFA's Blatter planned for Russia and U.S. to host World Cups

Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:50pm EDT
 
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter planned for Russia and the United States to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and blamed UEFA president Michel Platini for Qatar's bid victory over the Americans, a spokesman for Blatter said on Wednesday.

But Blatter's wish for the two tournaments to go to "the two biggest political powers" was not a pre-arranged decision, Klaus Stoehlker told Reuters.

"It was not an agreement, this was his proposal and of course it (then) went to the vote at the (FIFA) executive committee," he said.

In an interview with Russian news agency TASS in which he took aim at Platini for playing a part in what he called attacks on him, Blatter portrayed the double World Cup vote, held in 2010, as the catalyst for crisis at global soccer's governing body.

It triggered the worst scandal in FIFA's history, with 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in May for bribery, money laundering and wire fraud in an ongoing multi-million-dollar investigation.

Blatter and Platini are both serving 90-day suspensions imposed by FIFA's Ethics Committee which is looking into a 2 million Swiss franc ($2.03 million) payment Blatter made to Platini in 2011 - a case that is also part of a separate Swiss criminal investigation.

"We had a discussion of the World Cup and then we went to a double decision," Blatter told TASS.

"For the World Cups it was agreed that we go to Russia (for 2018)... and for 2022 we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers."

Blatter said a lunch between Platini, senior Qatari officials and then French president Nicolas Sarkozy led to a change of heart by the UEFA president.   Continued...

 
FIFA President Sepp Blatter reacts before the first game of the so-called "Sepp Blatter tournament" in Blatter's home-town Ulrichen, Switzerland, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse