German soccer boss urges 2022 WCup review

German soccer boss urges 2022 WCup review

Published Jun. 1, 2011 9:38 a.m. ET

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.