FIFA to go ahead with 2018 and 2022 WCup votes
FIFA will go ahead with voting on bids for the 2018 and 2022
World Cups despite its probe into alleged bribery and
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Friday that the Dec. 2
balloting will proceed as scheduled, but acknowledged that it may
have been a mistake to combine the two World Cups into one bidding
”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 24-member 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
England, Russia, Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Holland are vying
for the 2018 World Cup, while Qatar, the United States, Australia,
Japan and South Korea are competing to host the tournament in
Delaying the vote could have disrupted bidders’ plans to bring
politicians and soccer greats before FIFA’s ruling panel for the
final presentation – the climax of more than two years of
campaigning and lobbying that have already cost millions of
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and current Prime Ministers
Vladimir Putin of Russia, David Cameron of Britain and Julia
Gillard of Australia are expected to be in Zurich.
A delay also would 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 soccer 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 soccer projects.
The newspaper later released video 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 is due to publish its findings Nov. 17.
That is also the day when several countries connected to bids
play each other in international exhibitions that provide
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
FIFA’s executive committee agreed Friday on rules for the vote.
The winner needs an absolute majority, which would be 13 votes if
all 24 members are allowed to vote after the ethics panel issues
its ruling. The candidates with the fewest votes in each round will
be 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