Sepp Blatter says awarding World Cup to Qatar was a mistake


Awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was “a bad choice”, Sepp Blatter, who was president of soccer’s world governing body at the time of the 2010 decision, said on Tuesday, claiming that a deal between French and Qatari officials shakes

“It’s a very small country,” Blatter, FIFA president for 17 years before he resigned in 2015, told Swiss newspaper group Tamedia in his first comments since being impeached by a Swiss court on corruption charges. He was acquitted in July. The prosecutor appealed the decision. “Football and the World Cup are too big for her.”

The smallest host by size since the tournament was held in Switzerland in 1954, Qatar will host 32 teams who will play 64 games in eight stadiums in and around Doha, the site of major and controversial construction projects for the tournament, which starting on November 20. More than a million visitors are expected, but many will travel from neighboring countries due to limited accommodation in Qatar.

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“It was a bad election, and I was responsible as president at the time,” Blatter said.

From October: The World Cup is just a month away. Will Qatar be ready?

A U.S. bid, which Blatter said he had voted for, fell short of five candidates in the final round of voting. Qatar is believed to have defeated the United States at a meeting held in Paris by Nicolas Sarkozy, the then French president, a week before the December 2010 vote by FIFA’s executive committee.

The meeting was attended by Michel Platini (a former French football great who was then the president of UEFA, the European football body) and Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, then the ruler of Qatar and now its ruler.

Blatter claimed on Tuesday, as before, that Sarkozy pressured Platini, repeating Platini’s version of the phone call and saying the voting plan had changed.

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“Thank you for the four votes for Platini and him [UEFA] team, the World Cup went to Qatar more than the United States. This is the truth,” Blatter said on the 14-8 vote.

“Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good,” Platini told The Associated Press seven years ago, admitting that he “may have told the American authorities” that he will vote for their 2022 candidate. Along with Blatter, Platini was acquitted of corruption charges in the summer.

Since winning, Qatar has come under fire for human rights issues and working conditions at tournament-related facilities, something Blatter did not address directly other than to say that “social concerns and human rights are taken into account” because FIFA criteria for hosting. countries was changed in 2012.

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Another issue that concerns LGBT tourists in Qatar as the tournament approaches is that the authorities have arbitrarily detained LGBT people and treated them unfairly. The issue returned to the agenda this week when Khalid Salman, a former player of Qatar’s national team who is a World Cup ambassador, described homosexuality as “an evil in the mind” in an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF. He added that homosexuality is “haram” – forbidden in Arabic – and that he has a problem with children seeing gay people.

“Many things will come to the country during the World Cup. Let’s talk about gays,” Salman said in English. “The most important thing is, everyone will agree to come here, but they won’t have to accept our rules.”

The interview was interrupted by a media officer of the World Cup organizing committee, ZDF reported.


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