Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter admitted that awarding the hosting rights of the FIFA World Cup 2022 to Qatar was a mistake. Sepp Blatter was the President of FIFA in 2010 when Qatar won the right to host the FIFA 2022 edition amidst allegations of bribery and corruption.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 will be played in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December. It will be the 22nd edition of the competition and the first ever to be played in Arab countries.
Sepp Blatter on Awarding FIFA 2022 Hosting Rights to Qatar
Sepp Blatter told the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger: “The choice of Qatar was a mistake. We actually agreed in the executive committee that Russia should get the 2018 World Cup and the USA that of 2022”
Sepp Blatter says the tournament was handed to the Gulf state because of the actions of the former UEFA president, Michel Platini, under pressure from France’s then-president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
“The choice of Qatar was a mistake,” Sepp Blatter said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, his first since being cleared of fraud charges in July following a £1.7m payment to the former UEFA president Michel Platini.
“At the time, we actually agreed in the executive committee that Russia should get the 2018 World Cup and the USA that of 2022. It would have been a gesture of peace if the two long-standing political opponents had hosted the World Cup one after the other.
“It’s too small a country. Football and the World Cup are too big for that,” says Sepp Blatter when asked why Qatar was a bad choice. Notably, he didn’t mention the human rights concerns that have hung over the tournament.
Sepp Blatter said that FIFA’s plans were disrupted by Platini, claiming the Frenchman was instrumental in directing four votes from European countries to Qatar, after pressure from Sarkozy.
“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,” Sepp Blatter said of the 14-8 voting result against the US in the final two.
“Platini told me he had been invited to the Élysée Palace, where French president Sarkozy had just had lunch with the Crown Prince of Qatar,” Blatter said. “Sarkozy said to Platini: ‘See what you and your colleagues from Uefa can do for Qatar when the World Cup is awarded.’ I then asked him: ‘And now?’”
According to Sepp Blatter, when he queried this, Platini’s response was: “‘Sepp, what would you do if your president asked you for something?’ I then told him that the question didn’t arise for me because we don’t have a president in Switzerland.”
The Qatar World Cup, which had to be moved to November and December due to heat, is now just two weeks away and Blatter accepts he is responsible for the tournament taking place there.