Blatter Claims U-Turn in WC Voting Reform, Aims Jibe at Bin Hammam

May 2, 2011

After the latest cash-for-votes scandal that tainted the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid race damaged his credibility, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has pledged to shake-up the voting system for future World Cup hosts.

Blatter was quick to defend the system by which Russia and Qatar were elected as 2018 and 2022 hosts in which the 22 members of the FIFA Executive Committee made the decision amid rumours of vote-buying following the suspension from the vote of two Ex-Co members after bribery investigations.

However, the Swiss incumbent has revealed that he has had a rethink and now believes all FIFA’s 208 member associations should be allowed to vote on World Cup hosts.

The members will choose between Blatter and his rival, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed Bin Hammam, at the FIFA presidential election in Zurich on June 1, with Blatter telling German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine: “That’s a project I have at the back of my mind. I’d like to adopt the example of the International Olympic Committee to avoid a repeat of what’s happened in future.

“The Executive Committee receives ten or twelve bids, looks at them, recommends the best ones and then lets the plenary meeting vote. That would be a positive solution for FIFA. In view of the uncomfortable experience I had here in Zürich on 2 December it’s an idea worth considering.”

When asked as to what had happened to his friendship with Bin Hammam since the Qatari supported his successful re-election bid in 1998, he said: “I don’t know why Bin Hammam suddenly became so aggressive. 

“On the Executive Committee he repeatedly said he’d never stand against me, but that’s what’s happened.”

Blatter was confident he would easily overcome his challenger when asked about his projected total of votes, adding: “I imagine I have half the votes in Asia and Africa and a big majority in the rest of the world. At least over a hundred.”