208 FIFA members given power to select WCup hosts

Stung by ongoing criticism of the system to choose World Cup
hosts, FIFA President Sepp Blatter stripped the executive committee
of its power on Wednesday and gave every federation a vote on
future decisions.

Blatter offered the concession at the FIFA Congress ahead of his
re-election among a series of reforms to make world football’s
governing body more transparent.

”It was the (awarding) of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups which
kicked off the wave of criticism which are still coming,” Blatter
said. ”They concentrated on the World Cup because it is not just
the economic value but the social and political value of the World
Cup.”

After Blatter’s proposal on Wednesday morning, the 208
federations later approved the change and it now just has to be
rubber-stamped.

”Is it correct that the executive committee determines the
World Cup?” Blatter said. ”We should give more power to the
associations. I want the organization of the World Cup to be
decided by the FIFA Congress. The executive committee will create a
shortlist and make no recommendations, only a list and the Congress
will decide on the venue.”

However, the next vote – for the 2026 World Cup hosts – might
not be until 2018. By then, Blatter’s fourth and final four-year
term will have ended.

The FIFA Congress decided on the World Cup hosts until 1974 when
the power was given to the executive committee to decide the
location of the 1986 event.

Qatar was the surprise choice of the executive committee for the
2022 event in December’s vote despite the official FIFA inspectors
raising concerns about the intense summer heat in the desert nation
and the lack of existing venues.

Blatter spoke after Germany called for a review of the Qatar
vote to scrutinize corruption allegations.

German federation President Theo Zwanziger said the awarding of
the tournament to Qatar raised ”speculations and corruption
allegations” and should be examined ”more precisely.”

”In my opinion, this awarding of the World Cup should be
re-examined,” Zwanziger said.

Qatar has been forced to regularly dismiss claims it paid bribes
to voters. The latest denial came after a leaked email from FIFA
secretary general Jerome Valcke suggested Qatar ”bought” the
World Cup, although he later said he was referring to the financial
might behind the country’s campaign.

FIFA’s official report also questioned the transport and
infrastructure in Qatar, concerns also raised about the victorious
2018 bid from Russia.

England, which Blatter had said was the best equipped country to
host the event and would have been the most lucrative, earned just
two votes – with one coming from its own representative on the
executive committee.

Before the vote, Blatter warned the committee members about the
”evils” of the English media, which had been investigating FIFA
corruption.

After England’s defeat, the acting chairman of The Football
Association said he didn’t want the job permanently, with Roger
Burden saying he could no longer trust FIFA.

”We are confident The FA has played a significant role as a
catalyst for change in the way World Cup hosts will be selected in
the future,” Burden’s successor, David Bernstein, said after
Blatter’s announcement. ”This must be a more open transparent
process.”