#1
Lennart Johansson, former president of European football's governing body UEFA, says the decision to award the World Cup to Russia and Qatar must now be reviewed in the light of the latest corruption allegations.

Johansson, who lost the 1998 FIFA presidential election to Sepp Blatter, would like to see the 2018 finals played in England instead of Russia, with a new process also to choose the host of the 2022 tournament, currently set for Qatar.

The Swede spoke to Swedish newspaper Sportbladet after an early-morning swoop by police saw seven high-ranking FIFA members arrested on suspicion of corruption.

'They (England) haven't had it since 1966, and it's considered 'the motherland of football', whatever we might think. They are worthy of the attention,' Johansson said.

The winning bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups - England initially bid for both but then decided to go for 2018 - were announced in December 2010 and were awarded to oil-rich Russia and Qatar respectively. Since then, several FIFA officials have admitted that England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup was by far the best.

At a conference in Qatar in March 2012, Premier League chairman and deputy chairman of the 2018 bid, Dave Richards, said FIFA allowed the FA to waste money on their 2018 World Cup bid when, he claimed, they had little chance of winning it, stating "Why couldn't FIFA have said we want to take it to the Gulf? We spent 19m on that bid. When we went for it everybody believed we had a chance. But, as we went through it, a pattern emerged that suggested maybe we didn't."

Australia was one of the countries that bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

It's been revealed that slave labour is being used to build some of the stadia in Russia for the 2018 World Cup. However, had Fifa awarded the tournament to England then no stadia would have had to have been built, as all the modern stadia and infrastructure are already in place.

England has only hosted the World Cup once, in 1966, whereas other big European nations like France, Germany and Italy have each hosted it twice. England also bid to host the 2006 World Cup, but that was awarded to Germany.

Former UEFA president Lennart Johansson wants to see England host 2018 World Cup after seven FIFA arrests made in Zurich


Lennart Johnasson said he is not surprised to learn of the seven arrests

Johansson wants to see a review into Qatar and Russia World Cup bids

Johnasson believes that England should now host the 2018 World Cup


By Reuters
28 May 2015
Daily Mail

Lennart Johansson, former president of European football's governing body UEFA, says the decision to award the World Cup to Russia and Qatar must now be reviewed in the light of the latest corruption allegations.

Johansson, who lost the 1998 FIFA presidential election to Sepp Blatter, would like to see the 2018 finals played in England instead of Russia, with a new process also to choose the host of the 2022 tournament, currently set for Qatar.

The Swede spoke to Swedish newspaper Sportbladet after an early-morning swoop by police saw seven high-ranking FIFA members arrested on suspicion of corruption.


Former UEFA president Lennart Johansson (above, with England manager Roy Hodgson) wants to see England host the 2018 World Cup


Johansson (right) wants Russia and Qatar's right to host the next two World Cups to be reviewed



Seven FIFA officials were arrested by police on Wednesday in Zurich on suspicion of corruption



England's 2018 World Cup bid logo



David Beckham and Wayne Roomey with then Prime Minister Gordon Brown during England's campaign to host the 2018 World Cup



England hosted the 1966 World Cup


'I'm not surprised at what is happening,' the 85-year-old told Sportbladet as he packed his bags to attend the FIFA congress in Zurich.

'Blatter will obviously ensure that he wins the election in his own way. I think it's unfortunate that the world's biggest sporting movement has such a leader at the top. I really do.'

Johansson, who led UEFA for 17 years before retiring in 2007, says that the decision to award the World Cup to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022 should and will be changed.

'I expect they will reconsider the decisions. Blatter himself has said that the decision to go east wasn't proper. I am sure the initiative will now be taken to make a new decision.'

Given the choice, Johansson would like to see the 2018 finals played in England.

'They (England) haven't had it since 1966, and it's considered 'the motherland of football', whatever we might think. They are worthy of the attention,' Johansson said.

England, backed by the British government, made a bid to host the 2018 finals.

The bidding process proved controversial, with two members of the FIFA executive committee having their voting rights suspended following allegations they would accept money in exchange for votes.


Johansson stood against Blatter to become president of FIFA in 1998 but failed to emerge victorious


Johansson (right) wants to see England awarded the rights to host the 2018 World Cup tournament



Blatter (right) stands against Prince Ali bin Hussein in Friday's FIFA presidential election

England and Russia's 2018 bids were also mired in controversy and hostility after the English bid team officially complained about provocative comments from the Russian bid chief. They only withdrew the complaint after an apology.

More allegations of vote buying arose after Qatar's controversial 2022 win was announced.

Johansson, the Honorary UEFA President, will fly to Zurich to attend the FIFA congress on Thursday, but he is not entitled to vote in Friday's presidential election which sees incumbent Blatter seeking to repel the challenge of Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan.


Former UEFA president Lennart Johansson wants to see England host 2018 World Cup after seven FIFA arrests made in Zurich | Daily Mail Online
Last edited by Blackleaf; May 28th, 2015 at 06:47 AM..