The story behind how Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup took a new turn yesterday as outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a media interview that the former leaders of France and Germany lobbied on behalf of the Gulf state.
Blatter, who said last month that he’d resign as head of football’s scandal-plagued governing body, has previously alluded to “political forces” aiding the country’s successful bid.
However, he went further in an interview published over the weekend by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. According to Associated Press, Blatter said “there were two political interventions” from former German President Christian Wulff as well as former French pPresident Nicolas Sarkozy.
“Messrs Sarkozy and Wulff tried to influence their voting representatives. That’s why we now have a World Cup in Qatar. Those who decided it should take responsibility for it … I act on the leadership principal. If a majority of the executive committee wants a World Cup in Qatar then I have to accept that,” Blatter was quoted as saying.
The FIFA President suggested the German politician recommended that his country’s football federation “vote for Qatar out of economic interests.”
Former German footballer Franz Beckenbauer was a member of FIFA’s executive committee that voted to award the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar, respectively. While he’s refused to say who he supported in his secret ballot, Beckenbauer has called the selection of Qatar “strange.”
Tired of taking blame
The allegations of political lobbying add a new dimension to the controversy dogging Qatar’s World Cup bid, which – along with Russia’s successful 2018 World Cup proposal – is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by Swiss authorities.
Qatar’s World Cup organizers have steadfastly rejected any suggestions of wrongdoing.
Blatter previously insisted that Qatar’s bid was “clean” and, more recently, defended the Gulf state by accusing its critics of being motivated by “discrimination and racism.”
Now, however, he appears less willing to stick up for Qatar. According to the Associated Press, Blatter said he was tired of taking the blame for something he had no control over.
The 79-year-old was re-elected to a fifth term as FIFA president in late May, but abruptly announced four days later his intention to resign amid the organization-wide corruption scandal dogging football’s world governing body.
Blatter later mused that he hadn’t actually resigned, fueling speculation that he may attempt to hold onto his post, but other senior FIFA officials have stated that there must be a “changing of the guard.”
A lawyer for Blatter confirmed last week that the FIFA president would break with tradition and not attend today’s final match of the Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Some observers have raised the prospect that Blatter could be arrested and extradited to the US if he visits certain countries, a fear the FIFA president confirmed in the German newspaper interview.
“Until everything is clarified I won’t take any travel risks,” Blatter was quoted as saying.
So, am I understanding this correctly? It was an European conspiracy to have the world cup in an Arabic country? Yet, most of those Europeans are now vehemently opposed to Blatter, which make them Euroracist as he is also European? At the same time they are Araboracist as they question Qatar’s bid? Need some fresh air.
It is way simpler than that. Qatar asked France and Germany
to support its bid, in return of some economic favours (investments, new
contracts for French and German companies, etc.). What is difficult to understand
Isn’t that a definition of a inducement, ‘bribe’, you award us the contract and we will give money to your countries. (Also didn’t the two QF employees get jail for doing exactly the same thing)
I don’t think this is illegal per FIFA rules, and even if it is, how are they supposed to discover it? Are they going to open an investigation of the heads of states? And request a transcript of their discussions? Definitely not possible and I am pretty sure it is a common thing not only in sport but in all kinds of partnerships/deals between countries.
FIFA doesn’t decide on ‘illegality’ – the laws of the country do, so the short answer to your question is ‘yes’, they can be investigated just like anyone else once they cease being head of state.
Interestingly it is against FIFA rules, FIFA states that individual FAs must be free from political interference. Indonesia FA has been suspended several times due to this as well as the Greek FA. There are probably more incidents but I can’t remember them at the moment.
Several countries were suspended because of political interference, but that is a different story. It is easy to suspend a country if the president decides to put in jail his national team after failing in a competition (it happened with North Korea I think and an African country), but how is FIFA supposed to know about the promises heads of states give each other? This is extremely difficult and not something FIFA can do, at least not on its own.
How Fifa should know? Are you that naive in real life?
Do you really think Fifa was not aware of that? and I mean Sepp Blatter when I say Fifa. Do you think the Emir of Qatar did not know?
What do you think Emir and Sepp Blatter’s meetings where about? How long the grass should be on the pitch??
Quid pro quo
What a slimey old snake.
Just goes to show there is no honour amongst thieves. Careful Qatar Blatter is so desperate to stay as FIFA President he will sell Qatar and his friends down the river to do it. If the price to pay to hang onto to power is to strip Qatar of the WC, Sepp ‘Bellend’ Blatter will do it in a heart beat.
Sounds like someone is going back on one of his old deals.
sunday times were meant to publsih emails a year ago of the corruption, still havent done so. im not saying that there is no corruption (there might be) but there is no evidence shown by the sunday times.
I found this link to the emails on the Sunday Times website, but as I’m not an online subscriber I cannot open most of them.
Exactly. The truth gets out sooner then later and more of it should be coming along soon. Just wondering how FIFA allowed itself and its managing body to be bribed and bought in such a criminal manner by a few countries with lots of money to spare. I suppose awarding the games to Qatar let the cat out of the bag about all this corrupt practices and their abuse and ill treatment of the workers too. Sepp Blatter must have been appalled at the abuse of workers out there but he just could do nothing about it
Ill weeds grow apace
There is something up with Pres. Skarcozy and Qatar, I sat next to his brother in La Spiga, W Hotel, about 2 years ago. The French elite have strong links here?
I wish somebody would just pour salt on him.
I would like to know what Qatar’s stance on Blatter’s words. From what I recall, Qatar has been saying they followed the rules and won fair and square because they had the best bid. Now, if you use your soft power to make politicians influence their country men voters, so that their countries gain contracts and money, then well… How is this following the rules?
Qatar, I beg you, Please PLEASE please.. Just confess what was done. Facts will keep emerging because people say things to save their status and interests. Why does Qatar make statements that are faulty? Who gets the green light to lie in the name of Qatar? Is this normal? Do Qatari people agree to that?
I sense that Blatter is hinting that given protection from prosecution, he will spill the beans.
As far his pronouncements go, it is either a lie or just deliberately confusing the issue further by turning the focus on other issues and stories not originally talked about before.
What has got Germany and France to say in all of this specially the names mentioned. Still the story about the FIFA Qatar and Russia hosting goes darker and more sinister.
Until all is settled the question remains: will the games push through in Qatar and Russia… time is running out, half year is over.
What suffers here is also the sports… if hosting can be arranged to favor one party over the other and the voting is influenced by “ear whisperings”, how about the games themselves… will there be an arranged winner ? just wondering