Chuck Blazer says he voted for U.S.
FIFA Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer, the only American member on the 22-person panel, has denied that he turned his back on the U.S. bid to host the 2022 World Cup, and insists that he voted for the U.S. in every round.
On Thursday, the U.S. was beaten out by Qatar, 14-8, in the fourth and final round of voting that was conducted by secret ballot. Later that same day, in a conference call with reporters, U.S. Bid Committee chairman Sunil Gulati noted there was some "tactical voting -- groups using a vote or two to make sure someone else wasn't eliminated which would help later on."
Of note was the fact that U.S. received only three votes in the first round, and it was assumed that those votes consisted of the three members of the Executive Committee representing CONCACAF; Blazer, Jack Warner of Trinidad & Tobago, and Rafael Salguero of Guatemala.
But both The Independent and The Guardian published articles on Saturday suggesting that the U.S. bid had been abandoned by the three CONCACAF representatives. Neither Warner nor Salguero were immediately available for comment, though Salguero was quoted in late November as saying he didn't know how he would vote. But Blazer, in an email to ESPN.com, flatly denied that he hadn't supported his own country's bid
"Let there be no doubt, I happily confirm that I voted for the USA in each of the four ballots taken," he said. "I consider it an insult that anyone could presume anything else after 30 years of dedicated service to our sport in America."
Attempts to reach Gulati for further comment were not successful.
Jeff Carlisle covers soccer for ESPN.com.