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 governing body at the time of the decision in 2010, said in on Tuesday, saying there was an agreement between French and Qatari officials that changed the votes.

“It’s a very small country,” Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years before stepping down in 2015, told Swiss news agency Tamedia in his first comments since the sacking. A corruption case was filed by a Swiss court in July. Lawyers appealed the decision. “Football and the World Cup are too big for that.”

The smallest host in size since the 1954 tournament in Switzerland, Qatar will host 32 teams playing 64 matches in eight stadiums around Doha, the site of major construction projects. and argue for the competition, which starts in Nov. 20. More than one million visitors are expected, but many people come from neighboring countries because of the limited places to live in Qatar.

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

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

A bid by the United States, which Blatter said he voted for, fell in the final round among five candidates. It was believed that Qatar beat the United States in a meeting held in Paris by Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France at the time, in the week before the December 2010 election by the FIFA executive committee. .

At the meeting were Michel Platini (the former French soccer player who became president of UEFA, the European football association) and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, then the ruler of Qatar and now the emir.

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Blatter said on Tuesday that, as he had done before, Sarkozy had pressured Platini, repeating his phone call from Platini saying the vote had changed.

“Thanks to the four votes of Platini and his [UEFA] team, the World Cup went to Qatar instead of the United States. That’s the truth,” Blatter said of the 14-8 vote.

“Sarkozy didn’t ask me to vote for Qatar, but I know what’s good,” Platini told the Associated Press seven years ago, noting that “he might have told it” to the American authorities that he will vote in their 2022 election. Along with Blatter, Platini was acquitted of corruption charges in the summer.

After the victory, Qatar was accused of human rights issues and working conditions at construction sites related to the tournament, something Blatter did not address directly other than to say it was “considered psychology and human rights” Countries changed in 2012.

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Another issue surrounding the tournament is concerns over LGBT tourists in Qatar, where officials have reportedly arrested and mistreated LGBT people. That issue was brought back to the fore this week when Khalid Salman, a former player of the Qatari national team who is a World Cup representative, called homosexuality a “damage to the mind”. in an interview with public broadcaster ZDF. He added that homosexuality is “haram” – forbidden in Arabic – and that he has a problem with children seeing gay people.

“During the World Cup, a lot of people come here to the country. Let’s talk about the gays,” Salman said in English. “The most important thing is to accept Everyone can come here, but they have to accept our rules.”

The interview was cut short by a media officer of the World Cup’s organizing committee, ZDF reported.


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