FIFA President Sepp Blatter set
out to mend his relationship with Germany on Tuesday by
clarifying comments which appeared to suggest the country could
have "bought" the right to host the 2006 World Cup.
The 76-year-old Swiss wrote a letter to Bild newspaper,
explaining that what he was trying to say in an interview
published on Sunday was that World Cup hosting decisions were
always surrounded by suspicion.
In the interview with Swiss paper Sonntagsblick, Blatter
remembered that Germany were awarded the tournament ahead of
South Africa in 2000 after the Oceania representative on FIFA's
executive committee, Charles Dempsey, abstained from voting.
"World Cups being purchased? There I am reminded of the vote
for the 2006 World Cup, where somebody left the room at the last
minute. And so suddenly instead of 10-10, the vote stood at 10-9
in Germany's favour," Blatter was quoted as saying, although the
actual final vote was 12-11.
"I'm happy that I did not have to cast the decisive extra
ballot. But, well, suddenly someone stood up and left. Perhaps
in that case, I was also too well-meaning and too naive.
"No I don't suspect [that the 2006 World Cup had been
purchased]. I'm making an observation."
In Tuesday's letter to Bild, Blatter said he wished to put
his comments into context.
"I wanted to say that one can always find a pretext to doubt
the legality of a decision," he said.
"It shows that with a World Cup hosting vote, you can
always find a pretext to spin a conspiracy theory. Even in
connection with Germany, which delivered a perfect World Cup, a
summer fairly tale of which the whole country can be proud."
He added: "I don't believe in conspiracy theories, but only
in facts. As long as there is no concrete evidence to hand, one
must and should stick by the legality of the vote.
"This applies to Germany just as much as for other
countries. That is the core of my message."
Blatter's remarks caused outrage in Germany and prompted
some politicians to suggest he be stripped of an honorary award
he received in 2006 for services to the country.
The Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit) is
Germany's highest award for individuals deemed to have served
the country's common good.
"Sepp Blatter represents endemic corruption at FIFA...
therefore this award should be withdrawn," Reinhard Buetikofer,
a German MEP for the Greens, told newspaper Die Welt.
"If Sepp Blatter continues to not want a real investigation
into bribery, than we should think about withdrawing the award,"
Thomas Oppermann, head of the Social Democrats parliamentary
group told the same publication.
Former Germany captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer, who
heads FIFA's football task force, also questioned Blatter's
recollection of events in an article published in Monday's Bild.
"I cannot understand Sepp Blatter's comments and allusions.
For a start, he is wrong on the result of the vote. It was 12-11
for us, not 10-9," he said.
Dutch players imprisoned for shocking death
One more season, but then...
Malaga man maintains Manchester/Madrid mania
Maracana applauds deep-lying playmaker
Who would you rather have playing for your club?
12 months out, the stars look to the World Cup
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Adidas Nitrocharge for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010