Blatter then drops a bombshell: he did try to rig the vote but for the US, not for Qatar. There had been a “gentleman’s agreement”, he tells me, among Fifa’s leaders that the 2018 and 2022 competitions would go to the “two superpowers” Russia and the US; “It was behind the scenes. It was diplomatically arranged to go there.”
Had his electoral engineering succeeded, he would still be in charge, he says. “I would be on an island!” But at the last minute, the deal was off, because of “the governmental interference of Mr Sarkozy”, who Blatter claims encouraged Michel Platini to vote for Qatar.
Blatter initially held on to his presidency before announcing he would step down and eventually being forced from office following the 90-day suspension.