Sao Paulo: FIFA Sepp Blatter hit back at critics of football's governing body ahead of its annual congress yesterday claiming that racism is behind corruption accusations against Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid.
FIFA President Joseph Blatter. Pic/Getty Images
The accusations that Qatar paid for votes when FIFA chose Qatar in 2020 will be discussed at the two-day Congress, the embattled 78-year-old Swiss official said.
The growing scandal has threatened to taint the opening of the latest World Cup in Sao Paulo tomorrow. FIFA faces mounting pressure as five of its six major sponsors have called for a thorough investigation of the allegations made by the British media.
Blatter, who is set to tell the Congress that he will stand for a fifth four-year term, told a meeting of the African Football Confederation (CAF) that there were sinister motivations behind the campaign.
Blatter hit out at the "storm against FIFA" over the 2022 World Cup and the "discrimination and racism" at the heart of the attacks. He said the allegations "really make me sad".
Blatter's attack on the corruption charges echoed those of Asia's top Olympic official Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad al-Sabah, who said last week that the allegations were a racist attack on Arabs.