Blatter slams ‘racist’ British media over Qatar

As a corruption scandal engulfs Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid, FIFA President (L) lashes out the media. (File photo: CNN)

As a corruption scandal engulfs Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid, FIFA President Sepp Blatter lashed out the British media on Monday, saying their critiques were driven by “racism and discrimination.”

Blatter also said there is a plot “to destroy FIFA,” referring to the scandal as “Qatargate.”

His remarks came as more of FIFA’s leading sponsors joined the call for an investigation into allegations that Qatar bought the 2022 World Cup with millions of dollars-worth of bribes — administered by disgraced FIFA vice-president Mohamed bin Hammam.

“Once again there is a sort of storm against FIFA relating to the Qatar World Cup. Sadly there’s a great deal of discrimination and racism and this hurts me. It really makes me sad.”

The 78-year-old president’s said FIFA needs to combat “anything that smacks of discrimination and racism.

“We have seen what the British press has published,” he said. “I don’t know what the reasoning is behind this but we must maintain unity.

“We are in the situation where we need leadership. I still have fire inside me and if we show unity that is the best way to deal with those in the world that want to destroy FIFA. They want to destroy us.

“They don’t want to destroy football but they want to destroy the institution (FIFA). Because our institution is too strong and is so strong, we are sure they will not destroy it.”

Earlier this month, the UK’s Sunday Times said it had obtained a “bombshell” cache of millions of leaked emails and documents showing that Bin Hammam had allegedly paid $5 million to help raise the Gulf states chances of hosting the 2022 World Cup.

Hammam had allegedly used slush funds to pay out the cash to top football officials to win a “groundswell” of support for Qatar’s bid to host the international sporting event.

Qatari organizers of the 2022 World Cup have “vehemently” denied recent allegations their successful bid was corrupt and Jim Boyce, a FIFA vice-president, said he would be in favor of re-running the vote for the 2022 host nation if the accusations turned out to be true.

FIFA’s chief ethics investigator, Michael Garcia, was due on Monday to submit the findings of his investigation into allegations that Qatar was involved in bribing its way through the bidding process to host the 2022 World Cup.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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