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.”