Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA president, has admitted the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup was a “mistake”.
Blatter, 86, was FIFA president in 2010 when the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were contentious between Russia and Qatar.
In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Daily indicatorBlatter says he wanted to award the 2022 World Cup to the United States.
He said: “The choice of Qatar was a mistake.
“At the time, we actually agreed in the executive committee that Russia would get the 2018 World Cup and the United States would get it in 2022. It would have been a gesture of peace if the two long-time political opponents had hosted the World Cup. one after the other.
“It is too small a country. Football and the World Cup are too big for that.
When asked if he felt responsible for the decision, he added: “For me, it’s clear. Qatar is a mistake.
“The choice was wrong. What I wonder is why is the new FIFA president living in Qatar? He cannot be at the head of the local organization of the World Cup. It’s not his job. There are two organizing committees for this – one local and one from FIFA.
Blatter has been cleared of fraud over a £1.6m payment to former UEFA president Michel Platini when he was FIFA president. However, he remains banned from football.
Platini was reportedly asked to vote for Qatar to host the World Cup by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
A Soccer France investigation alleged that the president had organized a secret lunch at the Elysée Palace for the Crown Prince of Qatar, Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad al Thani and Platini.
During lunch, the Qatari delegation reportedly offered to buy Paris Saint-Germain, the team backed by Sarkozy, clear its debt and create a spin-off channel from Al Jazeera, which later became beIn Sports. They also offered to buy the TV football rights for French football and use the channel to broadcast matches.
Blatter confirmed in 2015 to FinancialTimes that the FIFA Executive Committee and Blatter had entered into a “gentleman’s agreement” to award the bid to the United States.
“Just a week before the election, I received a phone call from Michel Platini and he said to me: ‘I am no longer in the photo because the Head of State told me that he had to think… about the situation in France,’” he said.
Qatar have always dismissed any suggestion that they won the bid inappropriately.
And Platini responded forcefully, saying, “To say that my choice…was part of an agreement between the French state and Qatar is pure speculation…and lies,” he said. “I do not rule out legal action against anyone who questions the honesty of my vote.”
The World Cup in Qatar begins on November 20.
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Why the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is controversial
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