By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
The revelations coming out of the investigations into soccer’s governing body FIFA have been interesting to say the least. They’ve led to multiple top leaders in the organization being relieved of their duties and banned from the sport. Sepp Blatter, who presided over the period in question was recently suspended by the FIFA ethics committee while being under investigation by Swiss authorities.
Due to that investigation you’d think that Blatter wouldn’t be commenting on matters in public. You’d be wrong. Blatter did a Q&A with Russian news agency TASS, and in that interview revealed that the USA was supposed to be awarded the 2022 World Cup that instead went to Qatar. From the interview:
“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 [former French president Nicolas] Sarkozy came in a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar (Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani). And at a lunch afterwards with [UEFA president Michel] Platini, he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed [the entire] pattern. There was an election by secret ballot. Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was fourteen to eight. If you put the four votes, it would have been twelve to ten. 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.”
To summarize, according to Blatter, there was some kind of verbal agreement that the 2018 World Cup would be held in Russia before bringing the event back to the USA in 2022. Then the crown prince of Qatar showed up to a meeting, had lunch with UEFA president Michel Platini (also currently under investigation) and suddenly Platini though Qatar would be a good option.
Draw your own conclusions, USA soccer fans.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.