Angry Exco Member Blazer Hits Out At FIFA's Flawed World Cup Bid Process
February 15, 2011
The victor and the vanquished: Mohamed Bin Hammam and Chuck Blazer watch on as Sepp Blatter announces that Qatar have beaten the United States in the 2022 vote. (Getty)
(WFI) FIFA Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer has launched a withering attack on the World Cup bid process, saying that FIFA “pooh-poohed” allegations of vote collusion and claiming that the inspection committee reports were “ignored completely.”
In an interview in the March edition of World Soccer magazine, Blazer says that the bid process was flawed from the outset and argued that FIFA should carried out inspections of bid hopefuls before accepting their candidacy.
“The whole process would probably be better if a concerted inspection was done prior to anyone being accepted as an eligible candidate,” said Blazer.
Blazer was one of the more assiduous members of the Exco through the bid process, visiting four of the nine candidates (as well as de facto representing the United States, the country of his birth) to garner his own impressions of their pitches.
But he said that what FIFA were looking for was never clear, saying that there was a “very great misunderstanding” over the issue of legacy and that “it was not part of the defined bid criteria” – despite the suggestion, following Russia and Qatar’s victories, that FIFA was looking to break new ground.
He revealed that the recommendations of FIFA’s five-man inspection team “were ignored completely” and said that there was a lack of willingness among the Exco to discuss deficiencies raised in their reports.
“That part of the Exco meeting was over in a matter of minutes,” he added.
Asked if votes were being bought, he said that he had never been approached with any inappropriate offers. But later in the interview, he suggested that Exco members were influenced over ambiguous promises over “legacy”, such as assistance in building new training facilities.
“All of a sudden it was presumed that kind of legacy was OK,” he told World Soccer.
“It wasn’t, it shouldn’t have been, but a couple of guys went far beyond what they should have. It became confusing. It was badly done on our part.”
Blazer was one of the more outspoken members of the Exco through the bidding process, famously saying that Qatar couldn’t “air condition an entire country” and voicing concerns about vote collusion between the Qatar bid and Spain-Portugal.
He claimed that the administration at FIFA “pooh-poohed” the collusion claims and that there was an attitude that such matters were an inevitable consequence of the process.
But he had words of praise for the Qatar bid too.
“They did an excellent sales campaign,” he said.
“I respect the fact that they won.”
From INSIDER’s James Corbett
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