Soccer: Fifa Will Not Reopen 2018 And 2022 World Cup Votes



Soccer: FIFA will not reopen 2018 and 2022 World Cup votesDefiantly declaring that FIFA is no longer in crisis, Sepp Blatter said Friday the decision to hold the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar won't be revoked and the governing body will publish a confidential probe into the process that picked those countries as hosts.




The decision by the FIFA executive committee to publish ethics investigator Michael Garcia's report, with witnesses' names taken out, is aimed at lifting the cloud of suspicion that has dogged the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in Russia and Qatar and the December 2010 vote that sent the World Cup to those countries for the first time.

Blatter said only if major new evidence of bidding irregularity comes to light could those votes be reconsidered.

"There is no reason to say that our decisions were wrong. So we will go on sticking to our decisions," Blatter said, speaking through a translator. "There must be huge upheaval, new elements must come to the fore, in order to change this."

The 78-year-old Blatter, who is seeking a fifth term as president, said the decisions by the FIFA executive committee will allow the governing body to move on from four years of controversy.

"We have been in a crisis," Blatter said. "The crisis has stopped because we again have the unity in our government."

All 25 voting members of the executive committee, including three of them placed under investigation by Garcia before he suddenly resigned in protest this week, agreed that the findings of the American lawyer's two-year probe into the 2018 and 2022 voting should be published, Blatter said.

That will happen after the investigations that Garcia initiated into those three people and two others are concluded, he added. Those probes are now in the hands of Cornel Borbely, Garcia's former deputy now promoted in his place.

"There comes a situation where there must be shown unity and there must be shown a determination to end a situation which has created a lot of problems," Blatter said.

The turnaround - FIFA had previously insisted that the 430-page investigation must remain confidential - follows Garcia's resignation this week and parting accusations that FIFA leadership is weak and that the organization cannot be reformed. That increased pressure on FIFA to publish his findings.

"The pressure to do so was very, very strong," executive committee member Theo Zwanziger said. "There were quite a few voices against the publication of the report but there was a very long discussion.

"The fallout from not publishing is worse than transparency," Zwanziger added. "It's a good day for FIFA."