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Posted On: 21 February 2016 11:33 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 01:55 pm

Sepp Blatter denies Qatar bought the 2022 World Cup - but claims political influence saw Gulf state prevail

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Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the vote for the 2022 World Cup was not fixed, insisting: “You cannot buy a World Cup”.

However the Swiss, subject of an eight-year ban and two criminal investigations, says that political influence saw Qatar prevail.

Blatter, 79, continues to plead his innocence over numerous allegations of corruption.

However, he has been banned for eight years alongside UEFA president Michel Platini over an alleged 'disloyal payment' between the two and Blatter returned to FIFA’a headquarters as his appeal was heard this past week.

Qatar has denied buying votes ahead of the 2010 election, while Blatter insists he was surprised by their victory, having pushed for the United States to be the 2022 host. File picture of UEFA President Michel Platini (R) congratulating FIFA President Sepp Blatter after he was re-elected at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2015

However according to Blatter, political pressure saw Qatar emerge victorious, with Blatter claiming in an interview with The Times that then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy told Platini to change his vote - something Platini has denied.

Blatter said: "You cannot buy a World Cup, it will go at the end where the higher political influences are. For World Cup 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 was very correct, he phoned me and said my vote will not be for the Americans.

"He said if a head of state is asking you, you can still say yes or no, but in the interests of France...I knew then there would be a problem, we tried but it was too late. It was one week or 10 days before the vote. I tried to see what votes were left for the US but four votes were lost.”

UEFA president Michel Platini answering journalists' questions upon his arrival to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne

Nicolas Sarkozy

FIFA are set to elect Blatter's successor next week.

By that point the outcome of his appeal may be known, but Blatter is relaxed about his future - believing he has nothing to fear.

"I am sure that there is justice in this world, and that I have committed nothing which goes to criminal law," Blatter said.

"I have killed nobody, I have not robbed a bank, I have not taken any money from anywhere and I was even treating well all my ex-girlfriends. It's true. They defend me. One I was married to only for a few months and she is really defending me." (Source)