Fifa: Sepp Blatter says pressure behind Qatar & World Cup votes

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter is in his fifth term of office

French and German presidents applied political pressure prior to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes, according to Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

He alleges ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his German counterpart Christian Wulff sought to influence voting before Qatar and Russia were chosen as respective hosts in 2010.

Blatter, 79, said: "That is the reason why we now have a World Cup in Qatar."

The voting process is now under investigation by the Swiss prosecutors.

He added: "Those who decided this should also take the responsibility."

Blatter announced on 2 June he would step down from the presidency at world football's governing body at an extraordinary congress to be held between December and March.

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His decision followed an investigation into alleged corruption at Fifa which has seen 18 people indicted in the United States. Blatter said he has "nothing to fear" on a personal level.

Speaking to Germany's Welt am Sonntagexternal-link newspaper, Blatter said: "Before the World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar, there were two political interventions. Messrs Sarkozy and Wulff tried to influence their vote-makers.

Blatter also claimed that the German football association (DFB) "also received such a recommendation that Germany should vote for Qatar due to economic interests."

He added: "Just look at all the German companies. The Deutsche Bahn (German railways) Hochtief (construction) and many more already had projects in Qatar before the World Cup was awarded there.

"I act on the leadership principle. If a majority of the executive committee wants a World Cup in Qatar then I have to accept that."

Former DFB president Theo Zwanziger had previously written that Wulff had asked about Qatar's chances but he denied it had had any influence.

Blatter has also confirmed that he does not intend to stand for a sixth term in office at Fifa.