Sepp Blatter blames FIFA ban on U.S. losing 2022 World Cup bid

Sepp Blatter says if the United States had been awarded the 2022 World Cup, he would not be banned.
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Sepp Blatter believes the United States is to blame for the eight-year ban FIFA handed him on Monday, he told reporters at a press conference.

“If we had awarded the World Cup in 2022 the USA, we would not be here,” Blatter told reporters in his press conference.

FIFA, with Blatter as its president, controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar over the United States. Qatar reached the 12 vote majority, while the United States finished with eight votes. The Qatari bid is surrounded by allegations of bribery and corruption by members of the FIFA executive committee.

Blatter noted that he did not believe FIFA’s ethics committee enacted his ban under pressure from the United States, but said that he feels he is being used as FIFA’s “punching bag.” He plans to appeal the suspension.

Faces of the FIFA scandal

“I will fight,” Blatter said after the announcement. “I will fight until the end.”

The FIFA ethics committee announced Monday it would ban Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini from all activities relating to global soccer for eight years. The decision stemmed from an investigation into a $2 million payment Blatter made to Platini in 2011, which the ethics committee judges determined violated FIFA code of ethics rules on conflicts of interest, breach of loyalty and offering or receiving gifts.

Platini endorsed Blatter’s bid for re-election as FIFA president following the transaction.

Blatter is also being investigated by Swiss authorities and the FBI.

- Christopher Chavez