Sepp Blatter, the suspended president of Fifa, has ruled out the possibility of the 2018 World Cup been taken away from Russia and blamed the current Fifa crisis on Uefa and specifically its president Michel Platini.
The Swiss authorities are currently investigating the bidding process that led to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar as part of a wider investigation into the governance of Fifa.
Earlier this month Blatter, Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke and Platini were suspended from football for 90 days, but that has not stopped the outgoing president from acting as if he still runs the show.
He told Russian news agency TASS that there was no possibility that the hosts would lose the right to the tournament in two and a half years’ time.
“It’s ruled out,” he said. “Russia will not lose the World Cup.”
Blatter is convinced that criticism of the decision to award the finals to Russia was borne out of a lingering resentment by those who missed out – particularly England.
“Bad losers,” he said. “In Great Britain they have made this beautiful game, they have introduced fair play. But there was only one vote going for England. They were eliminated in the first round. Nobody wanted to have England.
In a wide ranging interview about the current crisis engulfing football’s governing body, Blatter claimed that he was the principal target of the attack on Fifa.
“I became the primary target of the attack because since three years already, and specifically after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Uefa did not want me as the president,” Blatter claimed.
“It was a conducted attack on the Fifa president. But the other confederations, they were with me. Only Uefa tried to bring me away. They did not succeed. Even with this tsunami I was reelected as president.
“And who has been involved in this attacking situation towards the Fifa president? Politics. The European Union. Because this matter was then discussed in the European Union and if you go to the history, the European Union’s parliament has taken resolutions twice – first, Blatter shall not be elected. But that is political interference in sport. And after being elected Blatter should go out. Twice they did it. The European Union Parliament.”
Asked why the rest of Europe would want rid of him, Blatter is convinced that the enmity has its origins in Platini’s personal vendetta against him.
“At the beginning it was only a personal attack. It was Platini against me,” he told TASS
“Yeah, he started it, but then it became politics. And when it is in politics, it is not any longer Platini against me. It is then those, who have lost the World Cup. England against Russia. They lost the World Cup. And the USA lost the World Cup against Qatar.
“But you cannot destroy Fifa. Fifa is not the Swiss bank. Fifa is not a commercial company. So, what they have done together with the Swiss, they have created this attack towards Fifa and the president of Fifa. And I am sure that at the beginning when Uefa said they don’t want me, they didn’t know that finally it came out with such a political importance. And you are from TASS and you know what are the problems between your country and the US. The Fifa World Cup or the Fifa president is a ball in the big political power game.
In a scathing attack on the Uefa president, Blatter suggested that Platini turned against him due to a combination of weakness and jealousy.
“You will have to ask him and we will know. Because he wanted to be Fifa president. But he had not the courage to stand as the president. And now we are in such a situation in football. But Fifa is working well. Fifa is carrying out competitions and all development programs.
“Fifa is so well organized that even big opponents in Germany have to say that Fifa is better organized than the German football. Since I became president of Fifa, we have made Fifa a big commercial company. And this naturally provokes envy and jealousy.”