FIFA president Sepp Blatter has reiterated his view that countries disappointed at losing the vote to host the World Cup in 2018 and ’22 should accept defeat gracefully.
Repeating FIFA’s stance that the tournaments were awarded to Russia and Qatar to spread the game into new territories, Blatter said that the response of some losing bidders had not been sportsmanlike.
“Maybe some people have forgotten that in football you have to learn to lose as well as to win,” Blatter said in an interview on FIFA’s website. “It was a competition. Some people won, some people lost. That’s normal.”
England was among the nations unhappy that FIFA did not declare before the bidding process started that the World Cup would go to countries that had never previously hosted the event.
But Blatter remained unrepentant despite criticism.
“The sporting media don’t always appreciate the social or cultural importance of awarding the World Cup finals to a country,” Blatter said. “They just think about penalties, corners, refereeing and money. But, as I’ve already said, this decision wasn’t about making money.”
Noting what he said was the huge success of this year’s World Cup in South Africa, Blatter said it was important to keep sending the tournament all over the world.
“We have made historic decisions in terms of sport and geopolitics,” Blatter said. “We’ve sent the World Cup to new territories. The 2018 World Cup will go to eastern Europe and the vast country that is Russia, and the 2022 event will go to Qatar, in the Arab world.
“The World Cup will discover new cultures in new regions, and that’s something I’m delighted about.”