Qatar pick as World Cup host was a ‘mistake’: ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter

Picking Qatar to host the World Cup was a mistake 12 years in the past, FIFA’s president on the time Sepp Blatter stated Tuesday, once more citing a meeting between Nicolas Sarkozy and Michel Platini for swaying key votes.

The 86-year-old Blatter spoke with the Swiss newspaper group Tamedia in his first main interview since being acquitted with Platini in July of economic misconduct at FIFA after a trial at federal prison court docket.

“It’s a country that’s too small,” Blatter stated of Qatar, the smallest host by dimension for the reason that 1954 event in Switzerland. “Football and the World Cup are too big for that.”

The 32 groups will play 64 video games in eight stadiums in and across the metropolis of Doha which has been remodeled since 2010 by large building tasks to organize for the World Cup.

Games begin on Nov. 20 with about 1.2 million worldwide guests anticipated to reach in Qatar in the course of the World Cup. With restricted locations to remain within the host nation, some will commute in from neighboring states.

Qatar is the smallest nation to host the World Cup since 1954.
AFP by way of Getty Images

“It was a bad choice. And I was responsible for that as president at the time,” stated Blatter, who has lengthy stated he voted for the United States. Its bid was crushed by Qatar within the closing spherical of a five-candidate contest to be 2022 host.

It turned a part of FIFA lore that an anticipated U.S. victory swung towards Qatar at a meeting Sarkozy hosted in Paris within the week earlier than the Dec. 2, 2010 vote by FIFA’s government committee.

French soccer nice Platini, then president of European soccer physique UEFA and a vice president of FIFA, was invited by then-state president Sarkozy to his official residence. The crown prince of Qatar, now the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was additionally there.

Joseph S. Blatter announces that Qatar will be hosting the 2022 Soccer World Cup, on Dec. 2, 2010, during the FIFA 2018 and 2022 World Cup Bid Announcement in Zurich, Switzerland.
Sepp Blatter introduced Qatar’s 2022 internet hosting of the World Cup in 2010.

Blatter on Tuesday repeated his declare that Sarkozy put stress on Platini, and once more gave his model of a phone name Platini made to him after the Paris meeting that the World Cup voting plan had modified.

“Thanks to the four votes of Platini and his (UEFA) team, the World Cup went to Qatar rather than the United States. It’s the truth,” Blatter stated of the 14-8 voting consequence.

In comments to the Associated Press in 2015, Platini broadly confirmed the importance of that meeting in Paris.

A man plays football in a park in Doha ahead of the World Cup on Nov. 8, 2022.
Games for the World Cup will start on Nov. 20.

“Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good,” Platini instructed an AP reporter in Zurich seven years in the past. He acknowledged that he “might have told” American officers that he can be voting for his or her 2022 bid.

Blatter didn’t particularly seek advice from criticism of Qatar on labor and human rights points since 2010.

However, he did question why his successor as FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, has moved to dwell in Qatar for a minimum of the previous year.

People walk past national flags in Doha ahead of the World Cup on Nov. 8, 2022.
Doha, Qatar, has seen a transformation from giant building tasks in anticipation of the event.

Blatter famous rising calls, by rights teams and several other FIFA member federations together with the U.S. and England, to create a compensation fund for households of employees who died or had been injured. Qatar’s authorities has resisted the calls and described them as a “publicity stunt.”

“What can FIFA say if its president is in the same boat as Qatar?” Blatter stated of Infantino selecting to dwell in Doha.

FIFA didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon the interview.

Blatter, who went to Moscow in the course of the 2018 World Cup as a visitor of Russia whereas he and Platini had been suspended by FIFA from soccer, instructed the Swiss newspaper reporters he would watch video games within the coming weeks on tv at his house in Zurich.

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