ZURICH: Sepp Blatter believes that Morocco should be awarded hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup rather than their rival bid from the United States and partners Canada and Mexico writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
At the least, the Moroccans should have the right to put their case to congress and not be tripped up ahead of June 13 by FIFA’s controversial evaluation task force.
The suspended former FIFA president believes even considering a cohost bid runs contrary to FIFA policy.
He says, in his new autobiography**: “In my opinion this [triple candidature] is contrary to the decision of the executive committee . . . not not to accept cohost bids if, among the other candidates, there are single countries capable of organising the competition on their own.
“On December 2, 2010, we discarded two European cohost bids [Belgium/Holland and Portugal/Spain].”
Current president Gianni Infantino has justified a change of policy to permit co-hosting as simple logic after the finals’ expansion from 32 to 48 teams.
Blatter believes this is a mere excuse since “FIFA would like to send the World Cup to America, Canada and Mexico [and] is trying to demolish the Moroccan dossier before it even reaches the voting stage.”
For him, the award of bid rejection powers to the evaluation task force is anti-democratic “because it undermines the fundamental rights of the member associations of FIFA”.
He adds: “For me, the Moroccan bid has every right to go to the final vote. It is a great country, close to Europe – which suits TV transmission timings – and perfectly capable of organising a 48-team World Cup.
“This is the fifth Moroccan bid. My support is, above all, a matter of principle and of justice. The Moroccans have the right to go to congress. Congress also has the right to say ‘No.’ But they should not be stopped in advance.”
** Ma Verite by Sepp Blatter (with Pascal Schouwey). Published by Editions Heloise d’Ormesson.