Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter alleges that political pressure from former French president Nicolas Sarkozy led to Qatar being awarded the 2022 World Cup.
In an interview with The Times, Blatter said Sarkozy pushed suspended UEFA boss Michel Platini to change his vote, which appears to have been slated for the United States. Platini has always denied that he was persuaded to submit his ballot for Qatar.
“You cannot buy a World Cup, it will go at the end where the higher political influences are,” Blatter said. “For World Cup 2022, Platini at least had the courtesy to phone me and say, ‘Now we have had a meeting with the head of state, and if the head of state is asking me to support France for different reasons then I will.’
“He was very correct, he phoned me and said, ‘My vote will not be for the Americans.'”
Blatter had hoped to have the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and the United States – a move that he said would have brought the world “a little bit of peace.”
Sarkozy reportedly held a luncheon with Qatari officials before the vote in December 2010 in a bid to secure the hosting rights for the oil-rich nation. Qatar’s organising committee, however, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in the voting process.
Both Blatter and Platini are serving eight-year bans for their role in an alleged “disloyal payment” in 2011. They have not had contact with each other since Swiss prosecutors first questioned them in September.
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