Sepp Blatter: French, German presidents tried to sway FIFA votes
Sepp Blatter claims in a new interview that the then presidents of France and Germany both sought to influence the outcome of the 2010 vote which awarded World Cup hosting duties to Russia and Qatar, according to The Associated Press.
Blatter spoke with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag and said both Germany's Christian Wulff and France's Nikolas Sarkozy tried to sway the voting representatives of their respective nations before the vote.
"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."
The 79-year-old FIFA president also pointed to numerous German companies doing business in Qatar which, he says, should accept the responsibility for human rights abuses in in the Arab nation instead of FIFA.
Blatter also spoke about the expanding American corruption probe into his organization, saying he questions the investigation's motives.
"I'm afraid that they want to wreck FIFA, a work that I helped create."
In May, 14 people were arrested in connection with the U.S. Department of Justice's probe into corruption and fraud in the international soccer governing body, and Blatter announced that he planned to step down from his role as president just days after being elected to a fifth term.
- Brendan Maloy