Blatter silent on Qatar question

Blatter silent on Qatar question

Blatter silent on Qatar question

FIFA’s top two officials Sepp Blatter and Jerome Valcke remained silent over questions about the integrity of Qatar’s winning bid for the 2022 World Cup.

Blatter met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in a ceremony in the capital Brasilia, where he handed over the World Cup trophy ahead of the tournament that starts next week. He spoke only briefly, wishing Brazil well, and did not take questions.

“This is a historical, emotional moment passing on the cup of cups from the hands of the last champions to the president of Brazil,” Blatter said, speaking a mix of Spanish and Portuguese.

Valcke, FIFA’s general-secretary, spoke earlier at the opening of the World Cup media centre in Rio de Janeiro. Walking through the centre, he was asked for a comment about Qatar. He shook his head several times and kept walking without saying a word.

The Sunday Times newspaper in Britain reported it has obtained millions of documents detailing irregular payments to football officials from a former member of FIFA’s executive committee, Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar.

Rousseff, speaking in the presidential palace, hinted at possible protests during the World Cup but said visitors would get a warm welcome.

“We are a democratic country,” Rousseff said. “A country that respects freedom of protest, and freedom of expression.”