No World Cup can be bought by money, former Fifa president Sepp Blatter has claimed after football's world governing body acknowledged for the first time that votes were bought in World Cup hosting bids for South African and France.
Fifa filed a 22-page claim to the US Attorney's Office in New York in search of "tens of millions of dollars" in restitution for bribe money seized by federal prosecutors. It is estimated that more than $190m (£131m, €168m) was forfeited by football and marketing officials who pleaded guilty in the corruption scandal. However, Blatter insisted that the corruption mainly happened in North and South America.
Blatter said on March 15: "When you look backwards, what the American authorities have done so far, they have arrested about 24 or 26 people. But all these people are American people from North or South America, and they have committed their activities not in direct connection with Fifa but with the confederations. But nobody will understand that because finally, you are the president of the organisation, you are the head, then it's easier up to take a gun."
He also said there was no evidence showing that World Cups held during his tenure were suspected of bribery in the bidding process, despite American Fifa snitch Chuck Blazer describing in court how he and other football association leaders accepted a massive $10m (£6.5m) bribe in exchange for choosing South Africa as the venue for the 2010 World Cup.
Blatter insisted: "I am not the moralist of those that take decisions. Secondly, I answered questions if a World Cup can be bought. You cannot buy a World Cup, then all the World Cups so far now in FIFA for 41 years, the decision finally was always made by political interference, recommendation or pushing. And I don't speak about money because I never put any government into a bad situation."
Blatter also believes that the 2022 World Cup will still be held in Qatar as it was the decision made by Fifa's Executive Committee and there was no evidence of irregularities during the bidding process.