The decision to award the 2022 World Cup
to Qatar was called into question by new FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger on Sunday, with the German
saying some of his fellow members had been pressurised by their
governments to vote for the bid.
The comments from the 66-year-old president of the German
Football Association (DFB) to the Frankfurter Allgemeine
newspaper are significant as he was appointed last week by FIFA
to head one of the new committees established to clean up the
Accusations of bribery and corruption over the last year
have dogged world football's governing body.
Zwanziger, who has been a constant vocal critic of last
December's decision to give the tiny Arab state the World Cup,
pulled no punches.
"In my opinion the vote for Qatar was decided by some
members of the executive committee who are in a very close
relationship with their governments, who pushed the political
case for Qatar," he said.
"I think the choice of Qatar from a sporting perspective is
still questionable because, due to the summer climate and the
size of the country, a World Cup should not be held there.
"This was also evident in the report of the evaluation
committee," he added.
Zwanziger, who was not on the exco when the decision was
taken, replaced Franz Beckenbauer on the committee after this
year's FIFA Congress but said the German Chancellor had never
tried to exert any pressure on his predecessor, although he
doubted that was the case in other countries.
He also referred to the infamous email, leaked by former
executive committee member Jack Warner, that was sent to the
Trinidadian by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke.
Valcke wrote that banned former executive committee member
Mohamed Bin Hamman of Qatar "thought you can buy FIFA as they [Qatar] bought the World Cup".
Zwanziger said: "I have not forgotten this sentence - this
must be cleared up.
"I think the word 'buy' does not necessarily mean that
bribes to certain individuals were paid, but rather a political
influence was meant."
After the email was made public by Warner, Valcke said he
did not mean to suggest that bribes were offered, but rather
Qatar used its "financial strength" to lobby for support.
Qatar has denied any wrongdoing and believes it won the
right to host the World Cup fair and square.
Zwanziger also said it was time FIFA stopped thinking it was
right about everything it did all the time and that all of its
critics were wrong.
"We at FIFA are the 'good and the powerful', the others who
are against us, are 'always the bad guys.' This kind of thinking
needs to change," he said.
Zwanziger also said it was time the International Football
Association Board (IFAB), the game's law-making body which is
made up of the four British associations and four
representatives from FIFA, was scrapped.
The IFAB, which was formed in 1886 - 18 years before FIFA
came into existence, is seen by many as an anachronism in the
modern game, although its supporters say its arch-conservatism
regarding law changes ensures the game remains pure.
But Zwanziger said: "I am convinced that things can not
continue. The methods are rather like the Empire and is not a
modern democracy. You propose a sensible amendment and often you
do not even get a proper answer."
He said the DFB had proposed a sin-bin experiment in amateur
or lower league football but that it had been postponed "without
He said: "I don't think that's very transparent and
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