Former FIFA president bribed by ‘Russian oligarch’ over 2018 World Cup bid, report claims

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter not named in the report, but was in the role at the time of the vote in 2010

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has published claims that a former FIFA President was bribed by a “Russian oligarch” to ensure Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup.

Russia was selected as the host nation for the tournament ahead of England, as well as joint bids from the Netherlands and Belgium, and Spain and Portugal, following a vote in 2010.

A 430-page report, published by the DOJ on Monday to review the FBI’s investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, contained details from a previous report by a former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, which alleged that a Russian oligarch had interfered in the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup.

The DOJ report read: “In July 2011, Steele provided a report that summarised an alleged conversation between then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in which, according to the report, Putin acknowledged that a Russian oligarch had bribed the President of FIFA so that Russia could win the right to host the World Cup tournament in 2018.

Russia won the right to host the tournament ahead of England and joint bids from the Netherlands and Belgium, and Spain and Portugal
Russia won the right to host the tournament ahead of England and joint bids from the Netherlands and Belgium, and Spain and Portugal

“Second, in 2012, Steele introduced the FBI to two British officials with information concerning Russia’s alleged efforts to bribe FIFA executives.

“Our review of Steele’s Delta file also revealed that Steele furnished the FBI with a report dated June 2015 that quoted a Kremlin official as having admitted that the Kremlin bribed FIFA executives in order to secure rights to host the 2018 World Cup.”

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter is not named in the report, but was in the role at the time of the vote in 2010.

Blatter is currently serving a six-year ban from football for approving a £1.3m payment to former UEFA president Michel Platini, who has also been banned from the sport for four years.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has previously claimed that an agreement was in place to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia before the vote in 2010 took place
Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has previously claimed that an agreement was in place to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia before the vote in 2010 took place

Blatter previously claimed in 2015 that anagreement was put in place for Russia to host the 2018 World Cupbefore the 2010 vote took place.

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