Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blazer Explains World Cup Vote...

By Martyn Ziegler, Chief Reporter, Press Association Sport

FIFA's American member Chuck Blazer has said he voted for Russia over England for the 2018 World Cup because it will open up new markets for football.

Blazer said England would have staged a "great World Cup" but that it would have contributed little to the game's development globally. He also insisted that he believes the 2018 decision had been a fair vote.

He said: "I went to visit Russia and England and Holland/Belgium to look at their bids and they all behaved perfectly correctly. Nothing has changed since then."

His final decision came down to the legacy of the World Cup - and he was influenced by the tournament's success in South Africa earlier this year.

"I voted for Russia," Blazer told Soccer America. "England clearly had a great bid. But in the end, I look at England and say, 'What more would we have when we're finished other than what I am certain would have been a great World Cup?'

"I believe that when we're finished in Russia, we'll have accomplished a lot of different things. We can open up a market that is important from a world perspective.

"Everyone came away saying, 'Wow, what a great World Cup in South Africa.'

"It was a hard process to get there, but nonetheless the event was very, very successful from a TV, marketing, worldwide perspective.

"And having done it there, it gave reason for everyone in the world to say, 'We can do it here.' No longer was it reserved for only for the big countries in Europe and the Americas."

He added: "If you look you at the votes - one for Australia, two for England, three for the USA in the first round, a total of six votes out of a potential of 44 votes - there didn't seem much of a taste for these places."

The irony for Blazer was the same argument that did for England may have lost the USA's bid for 2022 to Qatar - but he continues to insist the Middle Eastern state will struggle to deal with the problem of 50 degree C temperatures in June and July.

"I still feel heat is an obstacle that they won't overcome in the time frame in which we hope it will," he added.

"Who knows? By then, we may be going around with air-conditioned suits."

Blazer acknowledged that the sums spent by Qatar on their bid - running into hundreds of millions of pounds - raised questions about the process.

"Qatar took it all to another level," he said. "The question really comes down to, how do you create a level playing field for bidders going forward."

Blazer believes Qatar's bid president Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani was able to announce their victory on Al-Jazeera television half-an-hour before FIFA president Sepp Blatter opened the envelope because they were so sure of their votes - they won by 14 to 8 in the final round.

"This was a very well-managed campaign," Blazer said.


Paul H said...

Mr Blazer I have read some of your comments re the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 world cups("England clearly had a great bid. But in the end, I look at England and say, 'What more would we have when we're finished other than what I am certain would have been a great World Cup?'") and frankly I am astonished at your ignorance.If Fifa had stated openly that their policy was to take the WC to only new territories than several countries ,including England and your own, would not have wasted time effort and considerable expense in bidding.The fact that they didn't, until the very end ,in itself says how morally corrupt the process and the people involved (yourself included) truly are.The fact that you say England's bid would have produced a great world cup surely is what it is all about?To say that the SA WC was a great success is not true either.The grounds were half full because of the ridiculous pricing strategy, in what is still largely a 3rd world country with 3rd world wages for the masses (ie the ones who follow football not rugby)).In addition the number of foreign visitors and the revenue they took to SA was well below predictions for the same reasons.As for the football itself ,SA was the most dissapointing and sterile tournament since it was last held in your own country.There was no real spark of excitement and the droning noise in the grounds meant that for the armchair viewer (the billlions you profess are so important)the experience was very poor lacking in any real atmosphere.Taking the WC to new lands is all well and good, but if that is the stated policy please make it explicit at every stage to avoid countries like mine and yours getting involved.Before you and your coterie of cossetted demi gods prostitute yourselves on the "hospitality" of bidding nations it would be right and proper for you to state your philosphy for the the tournament and what you really want to achieve.I have no problem with the WC being staged around the globe but please do not take the rest of the footballing world ,where your very comfortable life style is funded ,for a ride.As ever you and your corrupt cronies like Jack Warner who are always looking for "deals" and hint and promise so much,will be the only real winners.The public ultimately fund your preening as you globe trot around the world with Kings and Princes, Presidents and PM's fawning all over you while you smile and dole out minor favours ,like old fashioned potentates.You are the real face of moral corruption that pervades sport and one day I hope you can reflect on this and realise how you have alienated yourselves from so many of us who truly love the sport, rather than use it for self aggrnadisment ,as Mr Blatter and your colleagues appear to want to do.
Paul Hartford ,Football Fan,England

The Fan's Attic said...

What will happen if Qatar is not able to solve the heat issue before the World Cup? Are we likely to see it moved to the winter in Qatar or just another host country?