German soccer boss urges 2022 WCup review

Germany’s soccer federation president on Wednesday called for a
review of the vote that gave Qatar the 2022 World Cup in order to
scrutinize corruption allegations.

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

Zwanziger is running for a place in FIFA’s executive committee
to replace the retiring Franz Beckenbauer and said he would be
willing to help look into the matter.

He also said Wednesday’s election for FIFA president should be
by secret ballot. Sepp Blatter is running unopposed for a fourth
term.

Delaying the vote would only leave FIFA without leadership,
Zwanziger said in an interview posted on the federation’s
website.

”There is at the moment no reason for me to doubt the integrity
of the FIFA president. The independent ethic commission did not
confirm the allegations against him,” Zwanziger said.

Zwanziger said Blatter’s priority after the vote should be to
get to the bottom of all corruption and bribery allegations
surrounding the world body of soccer.

”In my opinion, the first thing is to fundamentally examine all
corruption and bribery charges that have been swirling around FIFA
for weeks, and if proof is found, take action,” Zwanziger said.
”There should be processes set in motion that would prevent such
damage to the image in the future. It concerns the credibility of
the FIFA, its president and the football in the entire world.”

Speaking about Qatar winning the right to stage the 2022 World
Cup, Zwanziger said even FIFA’s secretary general Jerome Valcke had
been critical of Qatar’s ”financial abilities.”

Valcke admitted he wrote an email to vice president Jack Warner
saying Blatter’s challenger Mohamed bin Hammam might have been
thinking in his now-abandoned campaign that ”you can buy FIFA as
they bought the WC.”

Bin Hammam later abandoned his bid to unseat Blatter. He and
Warner have been suspended from all soccer activities until the
conclusion of a probe into allegations that Caribbean soccer
leaders were paid $40,000 each to back Bin Hammam’s presidential
bid.

Qatar’s World Cup organizers ”categorically” denied Valcke’s
claim. Qatar 2022 said it was ”urgently seeking clarification from
FIFA about the statement from their general secretary. In the
meantime, we are taking legal advice to consider our options.”

Valcke tried to clarify his remarks on Monday, saying he used
the word ”bought” in reference to Qatar’s ”financial strength”
which allows large sums to be spent on legitimate lobbying, and did
not mean to suggest any bribery.

”I have at no time made, or was intending to make, any
reference to any purchase of votes,” Valcke said in a
statement.

Zwanziger said all this required another look into how Qatar won
the vote.

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