Sepp Blatter announces World Cup host vote changes

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has announced that World Cup host countries will in future be chosen by a vote of all the 208 member associations.

Until now, Fifa's 24-man executive committee has made the choice.

But the controversy surrounding the decision to award Russia the 2018 tournament and Qatar the 2022 event has prompted a change.

"I want to give more power to the national associations," said Blatter, who was re-elected on Wednesday.

"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."

A frenetic week of claim and counter-claim has seen Fifa's reputation seriously damaged.

But Blatter insists that any problems can be solved in-house and with him in charge.

"The Fifa ship is in troubled waters but this ship must be brought back on the right track," he added.

"I am the captain of the ship. It is therefore my duty and responsibility to see to it that we get back on track.

"Reforms will be made and not just touch-ups but radical decisions. We have made mistakes, but we will draw our conclusions.

"We have been hit and I personally have been slapped. I don't want that ever again.

"We must stop once and for all, all these ugly criticisms, allegations, insinuations of cheating left, right and centre."

Blatter, who has been in office since 1998, made an appeal for unity after a bruising period of public division.

"I hope that you will follow the path that I'm trying to change on this ship," added Blattter.

"We must know where we're going with our game to build a better future.

"Together we can do it, together we will get there, and together Fifa will once again find its credibility."

Blatter also said the chairman of the ethics committee - the watchdog group set up in 2006 to deal with claims of malpractice in Fifa - would in future also be elected by congress and suggested a committee would be set up to examine Fifa's corporate governance.

The 75-year-old was the only candidate in the presidential vote after his sole challenger, Mohamed Bin Hammam, withdrew from the contest last weekend.

The Qatari executive committee member was suspended on Sunday amid allegations of corruption, including claims he "bought" the 2022 World Cup for Qatar. He denies any wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, Football Association chairman David Bernstein called on the member associations to stop Blatter being re-elected unopposed but they voted by 172 votes to 17 not to postpone the election.

Among those who backed Blatter's re-election was Cyprus Football Association president Costakis Koutsokoumnis.

"In difficult times, Fifa needs a strong mandate," said Koutsokoumnis. "To do that it needs a strong leader and a strong president so we can move forward.

"It is my opinion that we should support Mr Blatter. He has done it before. We should support him to do it again. And it's now the time to show the solidarity that is needed for football to go forward."

Despite the lack of support for the FA's demand to postpone the presidential election, Bernstein insisted the organisation's stance had been "worthwhile".

"We are confident the FA has played a significant role as a catalyst for change in the way World Cup hosts will be selected in the future," he said in a statement released after the vote had been takenexternal-link.

"This must be a more open transparent process."

In a separate development, the head of Germany's football federation, Theo Zwanziger, has called on Fifa to re-examine the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

"I think there is a significant degree of suspicion that one cannot just dismiss," he told German television.

"And that is why I reckon that the awarding of this World Cup must be re-examined with regard to these concerns."