ZURICH - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has
rejected allegations of corruption at football's governing body
after Russia and Qatar won the right to host the 2018 and 2022
World Cups, calling England "bad losers" for their reaction.
"To be honest, I was surprised by all the English
complaining after the defeat. England, of all people, the
motherland of fairplay ideas," Blatter told Swiss weekly
magazine Weltwoche in an interview released ahead of publication
"Now some of them are showing themselves to be bad losers,"
he said. "You can't come afterwards and say so and so promised
to vote for England. The results are known. The outcome came out
Roger Burden, acting chairman of the Football Association,
withdrew his application for the permanent position last week,
saying he could no longer trust FIFA members after the failure
of England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
He added that England's bid team in Zurich, which included
Prime Minister David Cameron and the second in line to the
throne, Prince William, were promised votes which had not been
delivered by FIFA executive committee members.
Cameron made a jibe at FIFA on Wednesday when he was asked
in parliament what he thought about football's governing body
after his experience of England's World Cup bid.
"I certainly learned one thing which is when it comes to
breaking promises, politicians have got nothing on football
management," he said, laughing.
Blatter said the reaction of the losing bidders showed some
did not understand his drive to expand football's frontiers.
"I really sense in some reactions a bit of the arrogance of
the western world of Christian background. Some simply can't
bear it if others get a chance for a change," he said.
"What can be wrong if we start football in regions where
this sport demonstrates a potential which goes far beyond
sport?" he said.
England's bid chief Andy Anson has suggested Blatter
influenced committee members before the vote by reminding them
of British media stories which alleged corruption against them
and led to two being banned.
Blatter rejected the corruption allegations and said he was
being targeted by anti-FIFA journalists: "There is no systematic
corruption in FIFA. That is nonsense," he said. "We are
financially clean and clear."
But Blatter said FIFA could not act as if nothing had
happened, adding he wanted to set up a taskforce to look into
compliance issues, without giving details.
"We need to improve our image. We also need to clarify some
things within FIFA," he said.
Asked about calls by Cameron for a radical reform of FIFA,
Blatter said: "Prime Minister Cameron is heartily invited to
make his proposals."
Blatter admitted football had become politicised.
"Football has become a monster which has to be tamed by
FIFA. We do that and we do it well. In particular after the
World Cup in Africa because nobody believed in it," he said.
"The awarding of the World Cup has become a political issue.
Heads of state pay court to me."
Asked if he would still be FIFA president to open the Qatar
World Cup in 2022, Blatter said: "Definitely not. If God wills
it, I will be invited to the opening party on crutches or in a
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