Former FIFA president Joseph Blatter thinks Morocco should win the right to host the 2026 football World Cup despite a joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico being seen as the favourite.
“I notice that the three big countries are getting a bit worried at the moment because of this little Morocco,” Blatter, serving a ban from football administration due to a “disloyal payment” while head of FIFA, told DPA yesterday.
“As FIFA president, I would look at the regulations and find that we said that if one country can do it on its own, then it does it. Morocco would now be in pole position.”
The 2026 hosts will be decided by the FIFA Congress in Moscow on June 13. “Forecasting the result is not that easy...there is the argument that you do not want to give the World Cup to the US so readily,” Blatter added.
However, Blatter said he did not know if Morocco was capable of hosting the first World Cup with 48 teams, an idea pushed through by his successor Gianni Infantino.
“But if Morocco is capable, you should apply the principle (of having one host nation),” he added.
Blatter heavily criticised the format for the 48-team World Cup, where the group stage will have 16 groups of three.
“That’s totally wrong,” he said, fearing that teams will collude and play out draws. That opens the door to agreements of all kinds.”
Blatter also said he is growing impatient over the investigation since 2015 over an “illegal payment” to Michel Platini, and would like the whole thing to be wrapped up.
Blatter said “nothing” had happened since September 2015, the date of the opening of proceedings against him for “corrupt management” stemming from the two million Swiss Franc (1.8mn euro, $2mn) payment to Platini, the former head of European governing body UEFA, adding “it’s a bit long”.
The lawyers of both men were summoned two weeks ago by the Swiss courts in Bern.
“Platini has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, two weeks ago the Swiss court heard the Platini clan in Bern, my lawyer was also present and he again showed that the payment to Platini was done correctly,” Blatter explained.
Blatter, who is 82, was president of FIFA from 1998 until June 2015 when he quit days after winning relection for a fifth term as a wave of scandals broke.
He was later banned from football by FIFA for eight years, a sentence then reduced to six years over a payment to Platini, his former friend and ally.
Unlike Blatter, Platini has fought his own, four-year, ban in the civil courts. After being rebuffed by a Swiss tribunal, the Frenchman turned to Strasbourg. “I wish we could finish,” Blatter said. “What I want to do is work alongside Swiss justice but also find the arguments necessary to obtain a reversal of the decision of the (FIFA) ethics commission.”
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