World Cup winner and ExCo member says that Sepp Blatter is a ‘good president’ in an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera.
|Blatter appears to have been given an overwhelming vote of confidence ahead of the election ballot [GALLO/GETTY]|
FIFA president Sepp Blatter vowed to overhaul the voting system used to choose World Cup hosts after controversy dogged the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Blatter, who was re-elected to another four-year term as head of world football on Wednesday, said he wanted future votes to award World Cup hosting rights to be decided by all 208 FIFA members.
The FIFA membership would vote from a shortlist of candidates put forward by the organisation’s 24-member executive committee. World Cups had been chosen by the 24 executive committee members.
Earlier, England’s motion to delay the presidential election by several months was defeated by 172 votes to 17.
A further 17 countries abstained.
“I want to give more power to the national associations,” Blatter said.
“In the future the World Cup will be decided by the FIFA Congress. The executive committee will create a shortlist – but will make no recommendations, only a list – and the Congress will decide on the venue.”
Blatter’s pledge follows stinging criticism of last December’s votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, won by Russia and Qatar respectively.
He told members that while FIFA had gone through “troubled waters”, lessons had been learned and he wanted to take football’s world governing body forward.
“We always have attacks from England which are mostly lies with the support of journalism which is busy lying rather than telling the truth”
Julio Grondona, Argentine FIFA senior vice president
He also said that the FIFA ethics committee – which last week cleared Blatter of any wrongdoing as president – would be elected by congress and become more professional.
Meanwhile FIFA’s senior vice president criticised England’s football leaders and media in a remarkable speech to the governing body.
Julio Grondona described England, which founded international football, as “where the insults and the problems come from.”
“We always have attacks from England which are mostly lies with the support of journalism which is busy lying rather than telling the truth,” Grondona said.
The 79-year-old Argentina official spoke after England failed in a proposal to postpone President Sepp Blatter’s re-election on Wednesday to allow time for investigations into alleged corruption involving senior FIFA officials.
Grondona’s South American colleagues on FIFA’s executive committee, Nicolas Leoz and Ricardo Teixeira, have repeatedly been accused of unethical behaviour by English officials and media.
“It looks like England always has something to complain about,” said Grondona, who joined FIFA’s ruling panel 23 years ago.
Among the claims, the BBC has alleged that Teixeira of Brazil and Leoz of Paraguay took kickbacks from FIFA’s former marketing partner in the 1990s.
Officials from England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid claimed that aides for Leoz asked that he receive a knighthood and have the FA Cup named after him in exchange for his support.
England’s bid was humiliated last December, eliminated in the first round of a four-bid contest with just two votes from FIFA’s 22-man board.
Russia won the election.
Grondona said England had never got over losing the presidency of FIFA in 1974, when Stanley Rous was defeated by Blatter’s mentor, Joao Havelange of Brazil.
“It looks like this country didn’t like it and goes on not liking it, and it doesn’t show good will,” Grondona said.
“Will you please leave the FIFA family alone. Say what you have to say but with truth. Say it clearly and without upsetting our family.”