Sepp Blatter: How Platini’s betrayal over pre-arranged plan to dish out World Cups led to Fifa crisis
'2018 and 2022 World Cups were pre-ordained for Russia and the US before Sarkozy told Uefa leader to back Qatar'
Sepp Blatter appeared to suggest the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were pre-ordained for Russia and the US before Michel Platini betrayed him in favour of Qatar.
In an interview with Russian news agency TASS in which he took aim at Platini for playing a part in what he called attacks on him, the Fifa president portrayed the double World Cup vote, held in 2010, as the catalyst for crisis at global soccer’s governing body.
"We had a discussion of the World Cup and then we went to a double decision," Blatter said.
"For the World Cups it was agreed that we go to Russia ... and for 2022 we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers."
Blatter said a lunch between Platini, senior Qatari officials and then French president Nicolas Sarkozy led to a change of heart by the Uefa president.
"There was an election by secret ballot. Four votes from Europe went away from the USA ... If the USA was given the World Cup, we would only speak about the wonderful World Cup 2018 in Russia and ... not about any problems," he said.
A spokesman for the Fifa president later it was not a pre-arranged decision.
"It was not an agreement, this was his proposal and of course it [then] went to the vote at the [Fifa] executive committee," said Klaus Stoehlker.
He said he spoke to Blatter following the interview and the Swiss stressed there had been no agreement before the vote of the Fifa executive committee, but rather that it was his personal wish was for Russia and the United States to be hosts.
"Then he was tricked by Platini who, under pressure from Sarkozy, switched his support to Qatar," said Stoehlker.
Platini has said he had a lunch with Sarkozy and Qatari officials but denied he was told by his country’s president to vote for the Gulf state.
In the interview, Blatter said he was a "ball in a big political power game".
"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."
Denouncing England as "bad losers" after missing out in the 2018 vote, Blatter said Russia’s preparations for the tournament were going well, praising President Vladimir Putin.