LONDON: The Football Association has written to FIFA demanding answers to “important questions” following Sepp Blatter’s comment that a deal had been fixed to hand Russia the 2018 World Cup before the vote.
The FA spent £21million on England’s bid for the tournament but outgoing FIFA president Blatter disclosed last month that an agreement had been made by senior figures in the organisation for the event to go to Russia.
In the vote in December 2010, England secured just one vote apart from its own and Russia won easily.
After Blatter’s revelation, FA chairman Greg Dyke immediately instructed the governing body’s lawyers to review its position and the opinion of a senior QC has been sought. Now the FA has sent a series of questions to FIFA.
An FA spokesman said: “The FA has been reviewing its legal position and, as a result, has written to FIFA asking a series of important questions about the process by which the 2018 World Cup was awarded to Russia.
“The questions are all based on statements made by Mr Blatter in the interviews he gave to the TASS news agency and the Financial Times last week. In the meantime we reserve the FA’s position legally.”
It is understood the questions include when exactly the agreement was made for Russia to host the World Cup, and who were the people involved in that agreement.
Blatter had told Russian news agency TASS that there had been an agreement for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup – and for the United States to stage the 2022 tournament until Michel Platini decided to back eventual winners Qatar.
Blatter’s personal adviser Klaus Stohlker has said the agreement was made in “behind the curtain” involving the “big players” but not everyone in the FIFA executive committee.
Holland/Belgium and Spain/Portugal also spent millions of pounds on their bids for 2018, as did Australia, Korea and Japan for 2022.
Dyke told MPs last week that it would be “very nice” if the FA could recover the money it had spent – including £2.5million public money.
He told the culture, media and sport select committee: “We will look into detail at what Mr Blatter says. There’s nothing Mr Blatter says that surprises me much. If he is saying ‘we wanted Russia’ and it looks like he wanted that fixed before the vote, it’s suggesting that it was all fixed anyway.”
Sir Hugh Robertson, who was sports minister at the time of the vote, has accused FIFA of having been “dishonest” with England.