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Fifa to keep same World Cup voting process

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Valcke defends Fifa voting system

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.

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.

Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson

"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.

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"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.

The moment Russia won 2018 World Cup bid

"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.

Valcke claimed: "The stories that came out last week [in Panorama] are 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."

However, the BBC Panorama team has been accused of being misleading.

"No Fifa officials have ever been judged on the matter of taking bribes by a Swiss court or by any form of tribunal," it said in a statement.

"It was managers of the ISL marketing company who were on trial in 2008 and they didn't face charges of commercial bribery as there was no such offence in Switzerland at the time the payments were made.

"A number of unnamed Fifa officials were, however, forced to pay back £3.5m in an out-of-court settlement earlier this year.

"Fifa continues to remain silent about this payment and the officials involved, and it has remained resolute in its refusal to investigate the millions of dollars of bribes shown as having been paid.

"There are serious questions to be answered by some senior, serving members of its executive committee.

"Far from being 'history', we have made serious allegations against three sitting ExCo members - one of whom is hosting the next World Cup in 2014."

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 [people], like [former German World Cup winner] Franz 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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see also
Anson leads calls for Fifa reform
03 Dec 10 |  Football
England bid boss fumes at voting
02 Dec 10 |  Football
Russia & Qatar to host World Cups
02 Dec 10 |  Football
World Cup decision day as it happened
02 Dec 10 |  Football
The race to host the World Cup
30 Nov 10 |  Football
World Cup vote photos
02 Dec 10 |  Football
England's dismay at 2018 verdict
03 Dec 10 |  England
View from the opposition camps
01 Dec 10 |  Football
The World Cup in their hands
02 Dec 10 |  Football
Beckham has faith in Fifa members
01 Dec 10 |  Football
Bidders for 2022 make final pitch
01 Dec 10 |  Football
Putin to stay away from Fifa bid
08 Dec 10 |  Europe
Cameron focused on World Cup bid
30 Nov 10 |  Football


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Daily News South AfricaFifa dismisses complaints about World Cup voting - 1 hr ago
The Statesman Fifa immune to global criticism - 2 hrs ago
AllAfrica.com Nigeria: FIFA Dismisses England, U.S., Others Complaints' About World Cup Voting - 7 hrs ago
San Francisco Chronicle FIFA defends WCup voting process, considers change - 8 hrs ago
Sport24.co.za FIFA defends SWC voting - 10 hrs ago
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