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Home » Sport » Football

Fifa to keep same World Cup voting process

Fifa insists it is not planning changes to the voting process to decide the hosts of a World Cup.

The 22-man executive committee of Fifa last week awarded Russia the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 tournament.

But world football's governing body has been criticised with the decision being limited to so few in a secret ballot.

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said: "We have not sat down to discuss a reform of the voting system. It's not part of our discussions at the moment."

Russia beat England, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium to win the race to host the 2018 competition, while Qatar got the nod ahead of the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia for 2022.

England's bid garnered just two votes and Australia received just one vote as both failed to get past the first round of the voting process, despite strong technical evaluations by Fifa.


"Yes, it is a political decision. But, overall, I think reactions were positive," added Valcke.

"The decision was fairly well received by football fans. It shows that football is open to the world.

"Russia is a great footballing country and deserves it. And the Middle East is part of the family of football."

The bidding process was cut to 22 after two executive committee members were prevented from taking part in the ballot by Fifa's ethics committee following allegations by the Sunday Times that they tried to sell their World Cup votes.

"The 22 members were in a room with a lawyer and an official," said Valcke.

"Each one got up to vote with a ballot paper which had a stamp from the lawyer. It is normal that the vote be secret.

"The matter is closed. We dealt very well with the two that were caught. We reacted well to the situation. The members were suspended. There is no need to be ashamed."

However, Northern Ireland's Jim Boyce, who is set to replace England's Geoff Thompson as a Fifa vice-president in May, wants the secret ballot scrapped for more transparency.

"I don't think it should be a secret ballot - it should be an open ballot where no one has anything to hide," said Boyce, the former Northern Irish Football Association president.

"These are major decisions for the game of football and I would have no problems with people being made to be accountable for the decisions they have taken.

"You want people to be open, straight and honest and I'm not saying they weren't, but it has happened to me before that you are told one thing and when a secret ballot takes place people do something else.

"I also think that when the next World Cup vote comes around that Fifa should not allow countries to go around spending massive amounts of money."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has also taken a swipe at the methods of Fifa.

"The disappointing thing for me was that we only got two votes," he said. "Everyone was so shocked.

"But I don't know how you can change Fifa. Will that 22-man committee change just because you ask them? Give me a break.

"Do you know how difficult that is? It is a new word for FIFA - democracy."

BBC documentary Panorama and the Sunday Times were both criticised for harming England's bid.

And Valcke said: "The stories that came out last weekare stories that date back to 1997 (and) were judged by a Swiss tribunal.

"After a while, all this is reheated and should be part of the History Channel.

"I personally watched the BBC Panorama program and so I missed the Real Madrid-Barcelona game, which I had to watch a recording of afterward. I would have been better off watching Real-Barca."

Meanwhile, Valcke played down any suggestions that the World Cup in Qatar could be moved to the winter months because of the intense heat in the country during June and July.

"Certain, likeFranz Beckenbauer, said this weekend that we should change the calendar and put this World Cup in a winter period," said Valcke.

"But the invitation to tender was to play this World Cup in June, and that's how it was done and countries replied on this basis."


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