Ricardo Teixeira has spoken openly for the first time about the World Cup voting deal which saw the 2022 finals awarded by world federation FIFA to Qatar.
Qatari sources have always indicated that their bid team had hoped to come to a gentleman’s agreement with England which had been competing for 2018.
When this fell through the Gulf state turned instead to representatives of the joint bid from Spain and Portugal which was headed up by the long-serving Spanish federation president Angel Maria Villar – who is also a vice-president of FIFA and UEFA.
This has now been backed up by Teixeira in Brazil to which he has returned after his self-imposed exile in Miami. Back home Teixeira, as a Brazilian citizen, is safe from any possible extradition application by the United States Justice Department in the FIFA corruption investigation.
Teixeira, then head of the Brazilian confederation, was one of the three South American members of the FIFA executive committee in December 2010 when the double World Cup vote was undertaken in Zurich. The other two were Argentina’s Julio Grondona, then FIFA’s senior vice-president and who died last July, along with Paraguayan Nicolas Leoz, then president of CONMEBOL.
Teixeira explained the vote swap to the web portal Terra with which he agreed to speak on condition that his interview concerned only the World Cup vote.
He said: “People say that I personally voted for Qatar or that the CBF voted for Qatar but that is not strictly accurate. It’s more precise to say that South America voted for Qatar and I will explain why:
“Think back to the 2018 vote. Was there ever any doubt whose bid South America would support? Of course it would be Villar. Argentina and Paraguay were very close to Spain.
“Then, with which country was Spain bidding? Portugal. So it was logical that the Brazilian vote would be cast for them.
“It went on like this: Spain needed votes. They had the three from South America and maybe one or two from Europe apart from Villar’s own. But that wasn’t enough. We had a meeting, myself, Grondona and Villar in which we accepted other votes from Asia, thanks to Qatar.”
Then it all came down to V-Day, the vote on December 2.
Teixeira said: “The agreement was that Qatar would vote with us for Spain and Portugal for 2018 and everyone knows now what happened: Spain reached the final round of voting for 2018 but lost to Russia. The truth of the story does not vary from this by as much as one millimetre.”
Qatar, with South American and Spanish support, then won the 2022 bid in the final round of voting from the United States.
Teixeira denied receving any payment for his vote not even a gold watch which was reported to have been given to him by the Emir.
He agreed he had met the Emir but this was “just as I met representatives from several of the other bids for both tournaments.”