World Cup vote to go ahead as planned

Zurich: FIFA will press ahead with votes to decide the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on Dec. 2 as planned, despite allegations of corruption and collusion that have dogged the process.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on Friday a delay had never been an option, adding the decision would be taken with only 22 voters if two members of the executive committee suspended pending an investigation were not reinstated by then.

"If people are suspended they will not be replaced," he said.

Blatter admitted the decision to vote on the destinations of both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on the same day was probably a mistake.

"I have said I assume the responsibility and I think it was not the right way to go," Blatter said at a news conference following a two-day meeting of FIFA`s executive committee.

"Now, we are in the situation where we have to go on. I`m not convinced now it was the right decision."

Russia, England, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands are bidding for 2018. Japan, South Korea, Australia, United States and Qatar are the candidates for 2022.

The bidding process has been hit by allegations of vote-selling by two FIFA executive committee members and collusion by unnamed bidding nations.

"The executive committee looked into the bidding process," Blatter said. "We are five weeks from the final decision so there was never a question of changing anything in the procedure.

"On Dec. 2, here in Zurich, FIFA`s executive committee will hold a vote, which will be a secret ballot, and will determine the national associations which will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup."

Blatter deflected most questions regarding the allegations made by the Sunday Times newspaper against the two members of the FIFA executive committee -- Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynard Temarii of Tahiti -- who have been suspended.

He said that the case was now under the jurisdiction of the Ethics Committee which would report on the matter on Nov. 17.

He questioned the methods used by the Sunday Times, who carried out an investigations using undercover reporters.

"One can ask oneself whether such action, trying to set traps for people, is appropriate," he said.

He added: "It`s an uncomfortable position for the president of FIFA but we have the necessary instruments to see we can react."

Bureau Report


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