blatterLONDON: Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said yesterday his organisation would investigate suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s claim a deal was agreed to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia. Blatter told Russian news agency TASS there was an agreement to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to the United States, only for UEFA president Michel Platini to back Qatar’s successful 2022 bid. England submitted a bid for the 2018 tournament, but was eliminated in the first round of voting after receiving only two votes from FIFA’s executive committee.“ We will look into detail at what Mr Blatter says,” Dyke told the British parliament’s culture, media and sport committee in London. “I suspect the response (from Blatter) will be, ‘I was misquoted.’ If he says that then I think there is something to investigate.

“There’s nothing Mr Blatter says that surprises me much. If he is saying, ‘We wanted Russia’ and it looks like he wanted that fixed before the vote, it’s suggesting that it was all fixed anyway.” The FA spent around £21 million ($32.2 million, 29.1 million euros) on England’s failed 2018 bid, including £2.5 million of public money, and Dyke said it would be “very nice” to get the money back. “We will obviously go back and look at it,” he said. “I think it would be a good idea. But get the bid costs back from whom? From FIFA? I agree it would be very nice to get taxpayers’ money back.”

Dyke also said that there were no plans in place for England to step in and host the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022 should the tournaments be stripped from Russia or Qatar for any reason. Blatter and Platini are serving bans from all football-related activity over a $2 million payment the Frenchman received from Blatter on behalf of FIFA in 2011, purportedly for consultancy work carried out years earlier. But Platini remains a candidate to succeed Blatter in February’s presidential election, along with Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Musa Bility, Jerome Champagne, Gianni Infantino, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Tokyo Sexwale.—AFP