Berlin - Sepp Blatter plans to attend the
preliminary draw for the 2018 Soccer World Cup later this month in Russia, the
outgoing president of the ruling body FIFA told German paper Welt am Sonntag.
"I will go there," Blatter of the July 25 draw in St Petersburg,
speaking to the Sunday paper at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
Blatter did not attend the recent under-20 World Cup in New Zealand and did
also not travel to Canada for the women's World Cup final later Sunday between
the US and Japan.
Blatter may face detention in connection with an American probe into corruption
in football which saw the arrest of seven officials - including two FIFA
vice-presidents at the time - in Zurich two months ago.
"I will not take any travelling risks as long as not everything has been
cleared up," he said.
Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as president two days after the arrests
but said on June 2 he will step down at an extraordinary congress to take place
in late 2015 or early 2016. However, there is also speculation that he may stay
on after all.
Swiss authorities are also probing FIFA, over the bid and election process of
the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts Russia and Qatar.
Blatter reiterated in the interview that then state Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy
of France and Christian Wulff of Germany tried to influence the 2022 election
in favour of Qatar for economic reasons.
"There were two political interventions ahead of the election of Russia
and Qatar. Mr Sarkozy and Mr Wulff tried to influence their electors. That's
why we now have a World Cup in Qatar. Those who made the decision should also
accept the responsibility," Blatter said.
Wulff and Sarkozy have denied trying to influence members of the FIFA executive
committee which elected the hosts. Franz Beckenbauer, a German FIFA executive
at the time, has not revealed for whom he voted. Blatter did not vote for
Qatar, according to FIFA.