Blatter backs England for next European SWC

2018-06-21 13:20
Sepp Blatter (Gallo Images)

Moscow - Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday he believes the Soccer World Cup should return to England when Europe next gets its turn to host the tournament.

Blatter has arrived in Moscow to attend matches at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin despite being banned from the game for alleged corruption during his 17 years at the head of world football.

The Swiss denied his presence at the World Cup would embarrass his successor, Gianni Infantino.

"We have good contacts with Mr Infantino. He should not be embarrassed because I am going to watch some matches," Blatter told reporters. "I am not here to mix sport and politics."

Blatter, 82, said he had dined with Putin on Wednesday and congratulated him on Russia's organisation.

"I dined with Mr Putin. You have to congratulate Russia for the organisation of the World Cup, and naturally the head of state himself."

Blatter oversaw the FIFA process which led to the awarding of this World Cup to Russia and, more controversially, the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

The voting process for those tournaments is now tainted by suspicions of corruption.

Last week, using new rules under which all member states vote rather than a 24-member Executive Committee, the 2026 World Cup was awarded to the United States, Canada and Mexico, beating a bid from Morocco.

Asked who should be the next hosts, Blatter said: "I have expressed that the game should go back to the English islands."

England were one of the losing bidders against Russia in the vote for the 2018 tournament.

More In This Category

Thomas Mueller says the Germans' shock early exit from the World Cup will provide "huge motivation" when he starts the new season.
Russian police have unexpectedly released Pussy Riot punk group members while they still face charges for invading the pitch at the World Cup football final.
Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has pledged his continued loyalty to the Serie A outfit amid reported interest from Europe's elite clubs.
New Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui says Gareth Bale is happy at the club and will reject any transfer move to Manchester United.