England deserve to host the World Cup finals in 2030 and should mount a joint bid with Ireland, banned former FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Wednesday.
"I think that England, or the islands, they deserve to organise the World Cup," Blatter, in Russia to attend the World Cup as a guest of President Vladimir Putin, told Sky Sports.
"They had it in 1966 so it's a long time ago. (I was told that) it could be with Wales and Scotland together but I said why not Ireland altogether?
"With 48 teams you need more than one country to host it."
England bid for this year's tournament but lost out to Russia despite being one of the favourites.
Blatter, who led soccer's world governing body for 17 years, is serving a six-year ban for unethical conduct after FIFA was rocked by a global corruption scandal in 2015.
The ban on Blatter from "all football activities" was imposed shortly after the Swiss attorney general's office began criminal proceedings against him on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation.
No charges have yet been brought and Blatter has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
His appearance at the World Cup in Russia is potentially embarrassing for FIFA and its new head, Gianni Infantino, who has promised to clean up the organisation.
However, Blatter pointed out that the new 'one person one vote' ballot system that resulted in the U.S., Canada and Mexico being chosen as joint hosts for the 2026 World Cup on the eve of this year's finals was one of his legacies.
The vote for the 2018 World Cup and the 2022 tournament, which will be played in Qatar, was made by the former executive committee, several members of which were later banned for life from the sport after they were caught up in the FIFA scandal.
"This is what I introduced in 2011," said Blatter. "But the elections should be made by secret ballot, this is also in the statutes of FIFA and the regulations and you should not announce who votes for whom."
The result of each ballot and related votes by members of the FIFA Congress for the 2026 hosts were made public.
Swiss Blatter, who was suspended in 2015, also said he felt 'abandoned' by FIFA and that he should have stepped aside earlier.
"I should have stopped after the 2014 World Cup which was a wonderful World Cup," he said. "I went for re-election again but I would have preferred to have had a better departure in 2014.
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