Tag: 2022 World Cup

Arsene Wenger, Arsenal FC
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Arsenal’s Wenger: World Cup headed for 40 berths

Leave a comment

Arsene Wenger thinks the World Cup is about to become an even bigger tournament.

With the politics of voting for a new president at the forefront of his reasoning, Arsenal’s manager says a 40-side World Cup is on the menu.


While he claims the change will come for “the next World Cup”, you have to think he means the next cycle, as 2018 qualifying is underway.

Wenger says they need to give more berths to Africa without taking them away from Europe. And Sepp Blatter was already using more berths for Oceania and Asia as a support chip.


Blatter: 2022 World Cup meant to be in USA; attacks Platini, wants return


Sepp Blatter has either officially lost the plot, or he’s just gone on a rant and has decided to spill the beans.

[ MORE: Who will be next FIFA president? ]

Either way, the outcome is mind-boggling.

In an in-depth Q&A with Russia outlet TASS released on Wednesday, Blatter has got plenty off his chest as the outgoing president of FIFA lashed out at Michel Platini — who along with him is currently suspended from FIFA due to an unexplained payment of $1.9 million between the pair — and gave several juicy bits of news including where the 2018 and 2022 World Cups should have been held and also hit out at FIFA’s own Ethics Committee before stating, and I quote, that: “If God is with me, I do hope that I’ll be back as president of FIFA.”

[ MORE: Mourinho praises Chelsea players ]

The seven candidates to become the new FIFA president and end Blatter’s 17-year reign — which had been dogged by controversy with current investigations ongoing from the Swiss and U.S. authorities into widespread allegations of corruption — were announced on Wednesday and the Swiss official would officially hand over the reins on Feb. 26, 2016 when the FIFA congress is held and a new president is announced. Blatter is not an official candidate but somehow believes he can still be president… Blatter also contradicts himself multiple times when saying that FIFA is not a commercial company and then, well, saying it is, and seems to be all over the place with his answers.

[ MORE: Messi to Barca? ]

Here’s is the excerpt from the interview where Blatter seems to reveal that before the voting process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups had even taken place back in 2010, FIFA had already decided that the 2018 World Cup would take place in Russia and the 2022 World Cup would take place in the USA. That was until the Platini got involved and Qatar ousted the U.S. at the eleventh hour.

Do you think it was a mistake to simultaneously hold the elections of both 2018 and 2022 World Cups in 2010? 

In 2010 we had a discussion of the World Cup and then we went to a double decision. For the World Cups it was agreed that we go to Russia because it’s never been in Russia, eastern Europe, and for 2022 we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers. And everything was good until the moment when Sarkozy came in a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar (Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani). And at a lunch afterwards with Mr. Platini he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed all pattern. There was an election by secret ballot. Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was fourteen to eight. If you put the four votes, it would have been twelve to ten. If the USA was given the World Cup, we would only speak about the wonderful World Cup 2018 in Russia and we would not speak about any problems at FIFA.

Defending himself throughout the Q&A and launching plenty of scathing attacks against his close friend and the president of UEFA and current FIFA presidential candidates, Platini, it is all getting a bit messy as many of the claims Blatter makes defy belief.

Here’s another excerpt on the “envy and jealousy” Platini feels towards him.

Why does Platini dislike you? You probably had a more or less reasonable relationship with each other some years ago. And then suddenly what went wrong?

You will have to ask him and we will know. Because he wanted to be FIFA president. But he had not the courage to go as the president. And now we are in such a situation in football. But FIFA is working well. FIFA is carrying out competitions and all development programs. FIFA is so well organized that even big opponents in Germany have to say that FIFA is better organized than the German football. Since I became president of FIFA, we have made FIFA a big commercial company. And this naturally provokes envy and jealousy.

It is clear that while Blatter is currently suspended for 90-days by his own organization for this alleged unexplained payment to Platini, he will go out of his way to throw as many people under the bus as he can to try and salvage his reputation… if that is even possible at this point.

Blatter also hit out at the very ethics committee he set up and gave this rather unbelievable assessment of how they should operate.

The irony is that both you and Platini are suspended from football activities for three months.

It’s total nonsense. This is not justice. I put these people into the office, where they are now in the Ethics Committee and they don’t even have the courage to listen to the secretary general, Platini or me. I called them for the principles of the human rights: before to be suspended or excluded from somewhere you have the right to answer and they have denied this. They made a summary investigation and three days later I was suspended.

The man who has led FIFA for nearly two decades and allowed widespread corruption to go on under his nose finally seems to be backed into a corner.

He doesn’t like it all and is coming out swinging in the final few months of his beleaguered presidency of world soccer’s ailing governing body.

FIFA announces bans for Blatter, Platini, Valcke, Chung

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

The headline reads “Independent Ethics Committee bans several football officials”, as FIFA stays defiant on naming names even to the death.

Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini, Jerome Valcke and Chung Mong-joon have all been banned by the Hans Joachim Eckert-run Ethics Comittee, with the first trio getting 90 days away from all soccer activities and former VP Mong-joon seeing a six-year ban.

[ EDWARDS: The case for firing Klinsmann (with a U.S. loss Saturday) ]

Blatter, Platini and Valcke could see an additional 45 days away on this charge, which would bring them right up to the next FIFA Presidential Election in February.

FIFA was sure to indicate in its press release that, of course, this is the Ethics Committee’s decision and not based on the investigations by Swiss and U.S. authorities (Commence eye-rolling). They also want to make sure you know which heinous villains are personally attacking Blatter and Platini:

The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee. The chairman of the chamber is Dr Cornel Borbély. The investigation into Joseph S. Blatter is being carried out by Robert Torres, the investigation into Michel Platini by Vanessa Allard.

While Blatter and Valcke’s fates have seemed– key word: seemed, this is FIFA — sealed for a great deal of time, this suspension further dents Platini’s chances at the presidency. UEFA’s boss has been given every benefit of the doubt by European pundits, but looks unable to escape rumors pertaining to his actions regarding the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Additionally, we should point out that while Blatter does in fact seemed doomed by international investigations, anything is possible with FIFA. While we await his legal status, it’s always possible the “innocent” administration wags its finger at all of us by making moves outside of the Ethics Committee’s decision.

Jerome Valcke’s emails handed over by FIFA

Jerome Valcke, FIFA
1 Comment

GENEVA (AP) FIFA relented and handed over emails from suspended official Jerome Valcke on Thursday, having blocked access even as Sepp Blatter pledged support for American and Swiss investigations of corruption.

The embattled governing body should cooperate “no matter how close to home those investigations get,” Blatter, who is targeted by both criminal cases, had said earlier Thursday.

[ FOLLOW: All the latest FIFA news ]

“This is the difficult path we must follow if we are serious about change,” the FIFA president wrote in his weekly in-house magazine column.

Still, Blatter’s comments seemed at odds with FIFA’s behavior during a standoff with Switzerland’s attorney general Michael Lauber.

FIFA had continued to block attempts to unseal emails from Valcke’s business and personal accounts despite Lauber’s public request on Wednesday.

The stand-off ended late Thursday afternoon when FIFA finally stopped insisting that “several conditions will be fulfilled,” Lauber’s office said.

[ MORE: CONCACAF, U.S. Soccer still at odds over 2016 Copa ]

“FIFA informed the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) to unseal all email accounts belonging to Mr. Jerome Valcke, suspended Secretary-General,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement. “Furthermore, the OAG is pleased to note that FIFA has handed over on its own initiative Mr. Jerome Valcke’s emails since May 2015.”

Valcke’s FIFA and Google email accounts were used to discuss a proposed deal for black-market 2014 World Cup ticket sales, a FIFA-contracted ticket agent alleged last week.

The French official denied wrongdoing but hours after the allegation was made he was suspended by FIFA which also asked its ethics committee to investigate.

“We need to show that we understand the severity of this situation and that we are ready to take the right steps to fix it,” Blatter wrote Thursday.

Lauber and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch last week said at a shared news conference in Zurich that their respective cases implicating senior FIFA officials are expanding, and could yet indict Blatter.

[ MORE: Valcke wanted FIFA payoff before he was suspended ]

The U.S. case alleging bribery and racketeering among FIFA vice presidents and longtime executive committee members has indicted 14 people and taken guilty pleas from four others.

A Swiss case that started with FIFA’s complaint last year of possible money laundering in the 2018-2022 World Cup bid contests is now looking for evidence of criminal mismanagement across FIFA’s day-to-day business.

Blatter has denied wrongdoing and blamed corruption on individuals outside FIFA’s control.

In his column, Blatter linked the criminal investigations to the need for reforming FIFA when his 18-year presidency ends in February, after a previous round of modernizing changes fell short.

[ MORE: Platini speaks about possible USA-Qatar World Cup U-turn ]

“However, the highly regrettable events this year have made it painfully clear those changes have not been enough,” he wrote.

Failing to approve reforms at the Feb. 26 election congress in Zurich would be a “betrayal” of FIFA by the 209 member federations, Blatter suggested.

Some reforms, including term limits for top officials, were rejected by those same members last year in Brazil after Blatter told them that rules forced upon FIFA would later apply worldwide.

Still, Blatter reminded Thursday that “millions of fans around the world … rightly expect the highest standards from those managing the game.”

Michel Platini speaks about possible USA-Qatar World Cup U-turn

Leave a comment

Michel Platini could be in hot water ahead of the upcoming FIFA presidential vote in February 2016.

[ MORE: FIFA scandal latest from FBI, Swiss ]

In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday ahead of a FIFA executive committee meeting in Zurich, Platini revealed that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the USA’s 2022 World Cup bid but then changed his mind and voted for Qatar after a meeting in Paris with the President of France and leading Qatari officials.

Below is an excerpt from the AP’s story on these new revelations regarding one of the FIFA presidential candidates and the current head of UEFA, European soccer’s governing body.

However, Platini’s critics have often accused the Frenchman of putting politics before football, especially when he voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup weeks after meeting with then-France President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Platini acknowledged that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the rival United States bid. However, he changed his mind after the November 2010 meeting, hosted by Sarkozy at his official residence in Paris and also attended by senior Qatari officials. Platini said it was not anything prearranged.

“Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good,” he said, smiling.

Well, Sarkozy having senior Qatari officials at a meeting attended by Platini and that last comment about “I knew what would be good” certainly isn’t helping out the case of the French national team legend. He has repeatedly stated his desire to separate politics from soccer if he is voted in as Sepp Blatter’s successor when the long-time FIFA president is replaced early next year. Blatter announced in June that he will resign after 17 years in charge of the organization which was rocked by the FBI-led charges that released details in May of over $150 million worth of corruption over a period spanning nearly two decades.

[ MORE: Mourinho – “Retaliation now allowed” ]

Platini, 60, has been a long-term friend of Blatter and has received plenty of attention in the past after his son was handed a job in Qatar after the voting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup process.

Many are pointing towards Platini’s closeness to Blatter, and many of the other high-ranking FIFA officials who have been caught up in the recent U.S. and Swiss investigations into alleged widespread corruption, as a strong reason why federations should not vote for him in the next presidential election.

Comments like these from Platini will only strengthen that argument.