FIFA to go ahead with 2018 and 2022 WCup votes
FIFA will go ahead with the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding
votes on Dec. 2, despite the continuing probe into alleged bribery
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Friday the vote will proceed
ahead as scheduled, but acknowledged that it may have been a
mistake to combine the two World Cups into one bidding process.
”I am not convinced now that it was the right decision,”
FIFA hoped to improve its financial strategy if sponsors and
media rights holders bought a two-tournament package, but the
tactic appears to have created more opportunities for
FIFA’s executive committee will select the hosts for both
tournaments by secret ballot in Zurich.
”There was never a question of changing anything in the
procedure,” Blatter said at a news conference after a two-day
executive committee meeting.
Two executive committee members, Nigeria’s Amos Adamu and
Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, are currently suspended after being
accused of offering to sell their votes.
FIFA’s ethics committee is to rule on both cases on Nov. 17. The
panel also is investigating Spain-Portugal and Qatar for alleged
Vying for the 2018 World Cup are England, Russia, Spain-Portugal
The 2022 candidates are Qatar, the United States, Australia,
Japan and South Korea.
Delaying the vote could have disrupted bidders’ plans to bring
politicians and football greats for the final presentation to
FIFA’s ruling panel on Dec. 1-2 – the climax of more than two years
of campaigning and lobbying which has already cost millions of
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and current Prime Ministers
Vladimir Putin of Russia, Britain’s David Cameron and Julia Gillard
of Australia are all expected in Zurich.
A delay would also have created problems for the Asian Football
Asia has a Jan. 6 congress in Doha, Qatar, where three of its
four FIFA executive seats are up for election. One is certain to
change because 72-year-old Junji Ogura of Japan has passed the AFC
Temarii’s bid for re-election as Oceania president is scheduled
for January, and Adamu would have to defend his FIFA seat at the
African football congress in February.
Both Temarii and Adamu could yet be barred from World Cup voting
after undercover reporters from The Sunday Times secretly filmed
them asking for money for football projects.
The newspaper later released video footage of former FIFA
general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen saying Spain-Portugal and
Qatar have struck a deal giving each seven votes.
The Iberian neighbors deny the claim, and Qatar officials have
not confirmed they are being investigated.
The ethics panel will publish its findings after a three-day
meeting next month.
On that same day, several countries connected to bids and voters
face each other in international friendlies with opportunities for
last-minute lobbying. Qatar will host a Brazil-Argentina game in
Doha, Australia plays Egypt in Cairo and Russia faces Belgium in
Voronezh. Portugal also plays Spain in Lisbon.
FIFA’s executive committee agreed Friday on rules for the vote.
The winner needs an absolute majority, with candidates who poll the
fewest votes in each round eliminated until a result emerges.
Voting at FIFA headquarters will be monitored by a Swiss lawyer
and consultants KPMG. Results will be sealed and taken to a
conference center in downtown Zurich for the announcement