Blatter goes off on Platini, England; dishes on '18, '22 World Cup votes
While being suspended 90 days by FIFA, outgoing president Sepp Blatter apparently has no problem airing his dirty laundry in the press.
In a lengthy interview with Russian news agency TASS, Blatter let fly on adversary Michel Platini, England and his own FIFA investigation and claimed that the 2018 and 2022 World Cup locations were decided (Russia and USA) prior to the voting–until former France president Nicolas Sarkozy tipped the balance with his influence, leading to Qatar getting the 2022 event.
Blatter once again shunted responsibility for being responsible for FIFA executives' moral compasses and gave added explanation to the $2 million payment to Platini that is at the center of both of their suspensions.
Asked why Platini dislikes Blatter after they were close allies in the past, Blatter said:
You will have to ask him and we will know. Because he wanted to be FIFA president. But he had not the courage to go as the president. And now we are in such a situation in football. But FIFA is working well. FIFA is carrying out competitions and all development programs. FIFA is so well organized that even big opponents in Germany have to say that FIFA is better organized than the German football. Since I became president of FIFA, we have made FIFA a big commercial company. And this naturally provokes envy and jealousy.
As for the World Cup vote in 2010 that wound up with Russia and Qatar hosting the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, respectively, Blatter said:
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.
With England losing out to Russia on the vote, Blatter claimed the nation never had a shot.
Bad losers. In Great Britain they have made this beautiful game, they have introduced fair play. But there was only one vote going for England. They were eliminated in the first round. Nobody wanted to have England.