LONDON: British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson has again questioned the entire bidding process of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup and accused FIFA president Sepp Blatter of derailing England’s bid.
Robertson described the bidding process was “strange and obscure” and said the turning point for England was when Blatter addressed delegates before the vote, reminding them of anti-FIFA stories in the British media.
Robertson, interviewed by Sky Sports News, said: “It was a strange and obscure bidding process; had it all been made clear I suspect we might not have bid.
“There were a lot of FIFA delegates who looked at either the Prime Minister or Prince William in the eye and promised their vote, and then didn’t deliver.
“Thirdly, there was a slightly unsatisfactory chapter. I’ve been told by a number of people in the room that Sepp Blatter, straight before the vote, stood up and reminded the delegates what the British press had done to them in the period running up to the vote.
“That must have influenced the way some of those delegates who promised to give us their vote then didn’t. Those three things make me feel very uneasy as a Sports Minister about the whole process.”
Russia eventually won the right to host the 2018 World Cup and the 2022 event will be held in Qatar.
Winter world cup
FIFA meets this week to discuss moving the 2022 World Cup out of the June/July slot to make conditions more bearable for fans and players, with temperatures soaring in the traditional summer time in the Gulf state.
Robertson added: “I didn’t agree with the way the competition was run but there was a competition: Qatar won it, and congratulations to them.
“The ambition to take football to parts of the world that haven’t staged major tournaments before is the right one. If we’re going to do that, we’re going to have to make some compromises over the timings of the English leagues, the North European leagues.
“The interesting thing is that there was nobody there during that bidding process who really thought that staging that World Cup in the summer was a sensible option, so to me it was always obvious it was going to be moved to the winter.”