FIFA: Sepp Blatter Says Russia 2018 Agreement Made Before Vote
Sepp Blatter says it was "agreed" to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia before the vote even took place.
Blatter's revelation was made during an interview with a Russian news agency in which he also called his current suspension "total nonsense" and blamed FIFA's ongoing crisis on the last-minute decision of four Europeans to endorse Qatar as 2022 hosts.
Russia and Qatar were awarded hosting rights in December 2010 but, according to Blatter, the plan within FIFA was for Russia and the United States - not Qatar - to hold successive tournaments.
And the suspended president claims it was his potential successor and Qatar supporter, UEFA boss Michel Platini, who was the driving force behind the switch of allegiance.
Blatter told TASS: "In 2010, we had a discussion of the World Cup and then we went to a double decision. For the World Cups, it was agreed that we go to Russia because it's never been in Russia, eastern Europe, and for 2022, we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers.
"And everything was good until the moment when [French president Nicolas] Sarkozy came in a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar. And at a lunch afterwards with Mr Platini, he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed all pattern.
Blatter says UEFA president Michel Platini decided to support Qatar's 2022 bid after a meeting with the French president
"There was an election by secret ballot. Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was 14 to eight. If you put the four votes, it would have been 12 to 10 [to the USA].
"If the USA was given the World Cup, we would only speak about the wonderful World Cup 2018 in Russia and we would not speak about any problems at FIFA."
Blatter also said Russia's right to the 2018 finals was now "anchored" and irreversible before turning his sights on the Ethics Committee responsible for his ongoing 90-day ban over an alleged "disloyal payment" to Platini.
Platini and FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke are also currently suspended, and Blatter said: "This is not justice. I put these people into the office, where they are now in the ethics committee and they don't even have the courage to listen to the secretary general, Platini or me.
The FA will be asked on Wednesday why they decided to back Michel Platini for the FIFA presidency before he was suspended
"I called them for the principles of the human rights: before to be suspended or excluded from somewhere you have the right to answer and they have denied this. They made a summary investigation and three days later I was suspended."
There was also criticism of England, who were failed bidders for 2018 and whose Football Association has, in recent times, been among the most outspoken critics of Blatter's regime.
"Bad losers," Blatter said. "In Great Britain they have made this beautiful game, they have introduced fair play. But there was only one vote going for England. They were eliminated in the first round. Nobody wanted to have England."
And the 79-year-old even claimed he has become "a ball in a big political power game" since Platini called for his resignation after the arrest of several FIFA officials in May on the eve of this year's annual conference.
"At the beginning it was only a personal attack. It was Platini against me. He started it, but then it became politics," he said. "And when it is in politics, it is not any longer Platini against me. It is then those who have lost the World Cup. England against Russia. They lost the World Cup. And the USA lost the World Cup against Qatar.
"But you cannot destroy FIFA. FIFA is not the Swiss bank. FIFA is not a commercial company. So, what they have done together with the Swiss, they have created this attack towards FIFA and the president of FIFA,"