Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has slammed the plan to hold the 2030 World Cup across six countries as ‘absurd’.
This week, the global footballing body confirmed that they intend to hold the World Cup in just under seven years time across three different continents, to mark the centenary of the first edition of the tournament.
But Blatter, who was in charge of FIFA from 1998 until 2015, criticised the move by current FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
The 87-year-old administrator told Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick: ‘It is absurd to tear the tournament apart in this way. The World Cup finals must be a compact event.’
In 1930, the first World Cup was hosted – and subsequently won – by Uruguay, and whilst the country has been selected to host one of the opening trio of matches, Blatter believes the continent should be hosting all the matches.
Ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter has slammed plans to hold the 2030 World Cup in six countries
Current president Gianni Infantino has backed proposals to host it across three continents
‘For historical reasons, the 2030 World Cup should have belonged exclusively in South America’, Blatter said.
In recent years, Blatter has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons for his involvement in one of football’s most infamous corruption scandals during his time as FIFA president.
In 2015, Blatter and former UEFA chief Michel Platini were both banned from football for eight years over claims the former had unlawfully paid the Frenchman £1.7million back in 2011.
The bans were later reduced – and last year the pair were cleared of corruption charges by a federal criminal court in Switzerland. Blatter had claimed the payment followed a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ from when Platini was a technical advisor in 1998.
Since leaving FIFA, Blatter has spoken out about proposed changes to the World Cup, including the decision to expand it to 48 countries from the 2026 World Cup onwards.
Alongside Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay will host the opening games of the 2030 World Cup, before the action switches to Morocco, Spain and Portugal.
Since leaving FIFA, Blatter (L) has been extremely vocal on changes to the World Cup format
Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay will host the first three matches of the 2030 edition
All six host countries will qualify automatically for the 48-team tournament, with South America’s allocation of automatic qualifiers set to be cut down.
Spain, Portugal and Morocco were the favourites to host in 2030 since announcing their joint bid earlier this year, but Uruguay and Argentina wanted to mark the centenary of the first World Cup final between the two nations 93 years ago.
In an unprecedented move, FIFA have explained the bidding process for the 2030 and 2034 World Cups with a question and answer session.
Mail Sport’s Nick Harris previously reported that it was a ‘done deal’ that the 2034 World Cup would be heading to Saudi Arabia, as FIFA confirmed it would have to be held in either Asia or Oceania.