'There was an agreement to grant Russia 2018 World Cup hosting rights'

Blatter says Russia was a favourite because the tournament had never been held in the eastern European region.

FILE: The emblem for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia. Picture: Facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG - Suspended Fifa President Sepp Blatter has told Russian news agency Tass that there was an agreement to grant Russia the hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup before a vote was even taken.

Russia was announced as the hosts of the tournament in 2010, a decision that was not well received by the English Federation, whose bid was unsuccessful.

Blatter also told Tass that the 2022 World Cup was never meant to go to Qatar, but rather to the United States (US).

He says that Russia was always in line to host the 2018 World Cup because the tournament had never been held in the eastern European region.

England's bid received only two votes out of 22 from the Fifa executive, in the first round of voting, handing Russia an outright victory.

The suspended president goes on to say it was agreed that the 2022 World Cup would go back to the 1994 hosts, the US, but that Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) president Michel Platini derailed the plan and opted to go for Qatar - this was after the then crown prince of the Arab Nation, met with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Fifa boss was slapped with a 90 day provisional suspension along with Platini.