FIFA Investigation Could Lead To Re-Vote On '22 World Cup After Corruption Allegations
FIFA President Sepp Blatter “made the startling disclosure” on Thursday that he “could not rule out a rerun of the voting for the right to host the 2022 World Cup finals which was controversially won by” Qatar in December, according to Sam Wallace of the London INDEPENDENT. Blatter said that “a FIFA inquiry into claims made” by The London Times that “there was corruption in the vote could lead to the FIFA executive committee voting again.” The re-vote “would represent the biggest U-turn in the governing body's history.” Blatter “knows that any move to go back on the decision would cause huge ructions” within the soccer world. While he “did not say what he thought the likely outcome of FIFA’s investigation would be, he refused to put any limit on the measures they could take if they uncovered wrongdoing.” Blatter said that “the notion that the 2022 vote would be reheld was ‘alarming’ but conceded it was one that had a groundswell of popular support and was ‘circulating around the world’" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/20). The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Roger Blitz reports FIFA will “interview a whistleblower” after claims by the London Times that Qatar paid two members of the governing body's exec committee “for their support of the Gulf state’s successful bid to stage” the ‘22 World Cup. Blatter on Thursday said that the newspaper “had agreed to present the individual in person to a meeting at FIFA headquarters.” Blatter: “We will have a discussion, an investigation of this” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/20).
SITTING THIS ONE OUT: The GUARDIAN’s Owen Gibson reports England’s Football Association “will register a protest by abstaining in the forthcoming FIFA presidential election.” Blatter called the decision "strange." FA Chair David Bernstein said "a well-reported range of issues both recent and current" had made it "difficult" to back either Blatter or Asian Football Confederation President Mohamed bin Hammam. Gibson writes Blatter “appears increasingly assured of victory” in the June 1 vote “after receiving the public backing of the European, South American, Oceania and African confederations” (GUARDIAN, 5/20).