Former England striker Gary Lineker has accused world football’s governing body Fifa of “nauseating” corruption and said the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was “ludicrous”.
Lineker was a member of the England bid team for the 2018 World Cup, which was awarded to Russia, and he suggested that the only way to have succeeded in the vote would have been to employ underhand tactics.
“I was with David Beckham having a burger the night before the Qatar decision [in Zurich in December 2010],” he told GQ magazine.
“We were out trying to get support – Prince William and [British Prime Minister] David Cameron were out there, too – and I said to Becks, ‘We are the only country doing this. The whole thing smells; it is a done deal.’
“It makes you feel sick, actually, the whole FIFA thing. The corruption at the top level is nauseating.
“[Fifa president] Sepp Blatter likewise has run it like a dictatorship for so long and he comes out with so much nonsense.”
On the decision to stage the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Lineker said: “Ludicrous. I am not against it going to different parts of the world, but you’d have thought they might have known it would be very hot in summer.
“You have to be careful what you say, but the corruption is just... yuk.”
Asked if Fifa was corrupt and no longer fit for purpose, Lineker replied: “Yes, and it is such a shame because it is a massive sport and means so much to so many people.
“[England] are too straight, in a way, and I am not saying that as a criticism. We should stand up for what is right and if that means never hosting the World Cup again, fine.
“The only way it might change is for the clean countries to turn around and say, ‘You know what, we are not taking part in your tournaments.’ But I can’t see it happening. There is too much at stake.”
Lineker, 53, made 80 appearances for England and is his country’s second-highest all-time goal-scorer with 48 goals. He now works as a television presenter for the BBC.
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