The former president of football’s governing body says he now regrets the decision
Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said that the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was a “error” amid serious concerns about the Gulf nation’s ability to host the world festival of soccer later this month. He suggested the decision was linked to the country agreeing an arms deal with France.
The event, which kicks off on November 20, has been plagued by accusations of human rights abuses against migrant workers who helped build the tournament’s infrastructure, as well as the country’s hard-line stance on same-sex couples and the LGBTQ community.
Blatter was in charge of FIFA when Qatar won the vote to become the host nation in December 2010 and claims there was a prearranged agreement between the organization’s executive committee that the 2018 tournament would go to Russia and the World Cup. from 2022 to the United States.
However, it was Qatar that ultimately triumphed after the voting process concluded, and Blatter says he takes full responsibility for what he now sees as a mistake.
“It is a very small country.Blatter told the Swiss publication Tages-Anzeiger.
“Soccer and the World Cup are too big for this. It was a bad choice and I was responsible for it as FIFA president..”
Blatter has previously said the dramatic switch from the United States to Qatar came after former French President Nicolas Sarkozy convinced former UEFA President Michel Platini to back Qatar’s offer, a move that came shortly before Doha agreed. buy $14.6 billion worth of fighter jets from France.
“A week before the 2010 FIFA congress, Michel Platini called me to say that our plan would not work. It turned out exactly like this: thanks to Platini’s four votes, the World Cup went to Qatar instead of the United States. That’s the truthBlatter explained.
“Of course, it was also about money. Six months later, Qatar bought fighter jets from the French for $14.6 billion..”
However, Platini has always denied claims that his vote was influenced by pressure from Qatari officials or Sarkozy. The former French president has also stated that he did not try to influence Platini’s decision.
There have been allegations, including from the US Department of Justice, that some FIFA voting members received bribes from Qatar, and officials from Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina were named in April 2020 as suspected voting irregularities .
“Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolás Leoz and co-conspirator #1 were offered and received bribe payments in exchange for their votes in favor of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup”, read an indictment from the United States Department of Justice.
“Now that the World Cup is imminent, I am glad that, with a few exceptions, no footballer is boycotting the World Cup.Blatter added.
“For me it is clear: Qatar is a mistake. The choice was bad. What I wonder: Why the new president of FIFA [Gianni Infantino] living in qatar? He cannot be the head of the local organization of the World Cup. That is not his job. There are two organizing committees for this: one local and one from FIFA.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.