In an in-depth Q&A with Russian News Agency TASS Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s outgoing president, opened up about the scandals surrounding FIFA and admitted that 2022 World Cup was meant to be in the USA.
– Mr. Blatter, when did you realize that FIFA was in a big trouble?
“The big crisis started on May 26-27 in Zurich when they arrested six members directly or indirectly involved in FIFA. It is funny to say, they had a journalist at the hotel at six o’clock in the morning. An American journalist. And then there was a big tsunami in FIFA. And everybody said who is responsible for that: “That’s the president, Blatter, he is responsible!” But I object. How can I be responsible morally for all the people? The accusations, which were made to these members, were not in activity with FIFA. It was in activity with a confederation. It was between South America and the Central, North America, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, where they have had made a big business for the next year Copa America and got some money by securitization of television contracts and then they started to distribute this money.”
– Do you think it was a mistake to simultaneously hold the elections of both 2018 and 2022 World Cups in 2010?
“In 2010 we had a discussion of the World Cup and then we went to a double decision. For the World Cups it was agreed that we go to Russia because it’s never been in Russia, eastern Europe, and for 2022 we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers. And everything was good until the moment when Sarkozy came in a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar (Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani). And at a lunch afterwards with Mr. Platini he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed all pattern. There was an election by secret ballot. Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was fourteen to eight. If you put the four votes, it would have been twelve to ten. If the USA was given the World Cup, we would only speak about the wonderful World Cup 2018 in Russia and we would not speak about any problems at FIFA.”