MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The vote to choose the location of the FIFA 2022 World Cup, which Qatar won, was not fixed, but French pressure engineered Doha’s victory, banned FIFA President Joseph Blatter said.
Blatter told The Times newspaper in an interview published on Saturday that UEFA head Michel Platini was asked by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy not to vote for the United States during the bidding process.
"You cannot buy a World Cup, it will go at the end where the higher political influences are… For 2022, Platini at least had the courtesy to phone me and say, 'now we have had a meeting with the head of state and if the head of state is asking me to support France for different reasons then I will.' He said 'my vote will not be for the Americans,'" Platini said, as quoted by the BBC.
In September 2015, Swiss authorities opened criminal proceedings against Blatter, on suspicion of negligence and misappropriation. Blatter is suspected of transferring 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) to Platini. Subsequently, the FIFA Ethics Committee began to probe the activities of both Blatter and Platini.
On December 21, FIFA's Court of Arbitration for Sport banned Blatter and Platini from football-related activites for eight years. Both have appealed the decision.