ZURICH: Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has claimed the 2022 World Cup vote was not fixed, saying: "You can’t buy a World Cup."
Blatter this week returned to FIFA’s headquarters as his appeal against an eight-year ban from football was heard, and the 79-year-old continues to plead his innocence on several fronts amid numerous allegations of corruption.
Blatter was banned for eight years alongside then UEFA president Michel Platini over an alleged ‘disloyal payment’ between the two, but it was the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar which sparked the crisis that rocked FIFA.
Qatar has denied buying votes in the run up to the 2010 decision, where it beat USA. Blatter said Qatar prevailed not because of corruption but because of political pressure.
In an interview with the Times, Blatter said then French president Nicolas Sarkozy told Platini to change his vote — something Platini has denied. Blatter said: "You cannot buy a World Cup, it will go where the higher political influences are. For World Cup 2022, Platini at least had the courtesy to phone me and say, ‘we had a meeting with the head of state and if the head of state is asking me to support France then I will’. He was very correct, he phoned me and said my vote will not be for the Americans."