Sepp Blatter, president of football’s world governing body Fifa, has said collusion between voters was inevitable but he expected no more corruption cases to emerge.
Less than two weeks before Fifa chooses the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts, the 74-year-old Swiss on Friday stressed that his 22-man executive committee understood that the world was watching before the secret ballot in Zurich on December 2.
Blatter insisted that verdicts of an ethics investigation announced on Thursday – which suspended two voters plus four other officials and cleared Qatar and Spain-Portugal of striking a votes deal – meant the secret ballot could proceed with “all doubts cast aside”.
"Now we go ahead and [the vote] will be good," Blatter said after an emergency session of the executive committee.
However, he did not dispel suggestions that a Qatari-Iberian pact alleged by a British newspaper was in place, instead stating that Fifa’s ethics committee could not prove it.
"They had not enough evidence. They haven't said it's 'blanco'," he said, using a word meaning whiter than white. "You cannot avoid collusion, but if in such collusion there should be something wrong, then naturally somebody would intervene."
Blatter revealed that Michel Zen-Ruffinen, his former right-hand man, was declared "persona non grata" at Friday's meeting for making the vote-trading pact allegation to The Sunday Times.
swissinfo.ch and agencies