Report Claims FIFA's Blatter 'Deliberately Scuppered' England's World Cup Bid
U.K. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said that FIFA President Sepp Blatter "may have deliberately scuppered England's bid" to host the 2018 World Cup, according to SKY SPORTS. Robertson believes the entire bidding process for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was "strange and obscure." He said that the turning point against England's bid "came when Blatter addressed delegates just before the vote and reminded them of several less-than-complimentary stories about FIFA that had been pursued by the British media." Robertson said, "I didn't agree with the way the competition was run but there was a competition: Qatar won it, and congratulations to them. The ambition to take football to parts of the world that haven't staged major tournaments before is the right one" (SKY SPORTS, 10/2).
CONSUMMATE PLAYER: In N.Y., Borden & Montague wrote Blatter "is a president, the president of FIFA." To "use that label alone, though, is to sell short the dominating (if not domineering) stature with which Blatter rules." In nearly four decades with FIFA, however, Blatter "has never overseen an issue as hotly debated as the one in front of him now" -- whether to move the 2022 Qatar World Cup to winter. There are 209 members of FIFA, and Blatter "has worked for the organization in several positions for decades." Not surprisingly, opinions of him "run the gamut from savior to scoundrel." Some consider him "a visionary for what he has done to expand the reach of the game to less developed countries and regions shredded by strife." Others "describe him as an entrenched overlord who revels in FIFA’s lack of transparency." However, a trait mentioned by almost all who know Blatter "is his political savvy." His strategy "is not subtle." While FIFA’s financial power base "might be in Europe, Blatter is far from beloved there." Rather, he is "known for currying favor, and votes, in Africa and Asia, seeing the future of the game in its two most populous confederations." Optimists point out that those countries "have greater needs than the European powers, and so the attention is merited." Cynics note that FIFA rules "play into the hands of a smart politician." The 25-member exec committee "consists largely of representatives of FIFA’s six confederations, but Africa (four) and Asia (four) have more votes than Europe (seven)." That gives Botswana, Iran and Thailand "as much voice as, say, Germany, England and France" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/1).
WAITING FOR ZURICH: ESPN reported UEFA President Michel Platini said that there "will be no decision made" on switching the date of the 2022 World Cup made at FIFA’s exec meeting this week. FIFA’s exec committee was "expected to make a decision in principle during a meeting in Zurich" on Thursday and Friday. Platini "has now warned not to expect a final agreement to be made imminently." Platini: "There will be no decision. It is impossible. We must wait to see what proposal President Blatter will bring to the executive committee" (ESPN, 10/2).