BERLIN (Reuters) - Former German president Christian Wulff on Monday rejected allegations by the embattled president of world soccer’s governing body, FIFA, that Wulff tried to exert political pressure before the World Cup was awarded to Russia and Qatar.
“The statement by Mister (Sepp) Blatter regarding former President Christian Wulff is false,” Wulff’s office said in a short statement.
Blatter has become entangled in a corruption investigation of the sport’s governing body that involves the decision to hold the World Cup in the two countries. Blatter has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but he has retained an attorney.
In an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Blatter said that Wulff and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy had tried to influence their voting representatives before the World Cup was awarded to Russia and Qatar.
“Therefore, we now have a World Cup in Qatar. The people who decided this should also take responsibility,” Blatter was quoted as saying.
There was no immediate reaction from Sarkozy’s office.
Europe soccer chief Michel Platini has repeatedly said that nobody had asked him to vote for Qatar. “Neither Sarkozy nor anyone,” he told the newspaper L’Equipe a year ago.
Blatter announced in June that he would step down as FIFA president after an election that is likely to take place late this year or early next year.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers and Michael Nienaber, editing by Larry King