The Attribution of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar Was a “Mistake”, Reaffirms Former FIFA President

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    The attribution of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was “a mistake”, Sepp Blatter, FIFA president at the time of the appointment, reaffirmed last Tuesday in an interview with the German agency SID -a subsidiary of the AFP- few days after the start of the tournament in the small gulf emirate. “From my point of view, attributing the World Cup to Qatar was simply a mistake. For me, the country was too small, it is as big as a canton here in Switzerland. The first problem that appeared then was the weather”, said he former sports manager.

    FIFA decided to grant the organization of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on the same day, December 2nd, 2010, “to try to associate Russia and the United States”, recalls the former president of the instance from 1998 to 2015, who is currently 86 years old. “There was a consensus within the FIFA executive committee”.

    But this consensus was broken a week before the vote, Blatter explained in the interview. He assures that at a lunch at the Elysee between former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the crown prince of Qatar Tamim ben Hamad al Thani, who became emir in 2013, the former “advised” Michel Platini, then president of UEFA, to vote for Qatar.

    A version of the facts denied by the former captain of the ‘Bleus’ team

    “The president never asked me to vote for anything in particular, but I thought I understood (during that lunch) that he supported Qatar”, Platini explained. “The quintessence was that I could no longer count on the 4 votes from Europe in favor of the United States. If those votes had gone to the United States, they would have won the World Cup, not Qatar. It is the truth, I will not give my arm to twist”, insisted the old boss of world football.

    He is in favor of compensating foreign workers

    Although Russia achieved its goal of organizing the 2018 edition, Qatar surprised by outvoting the United States 14-8 in the designation of the 2022 organizer. Qatar has been the subject of much criticism from humanitarian organizations, especially about the rights of foreign workers, who came from Africa and Southeast Asia to build the World Cup stadiums.

    In a report published in May, Amnesty International (AI) called on FIFA to create a compensation fund of €420 million for the hundreds of thousands of migrants whose rights were not respected by Qatar during the preparation works for the World. Blatter was in favor of this fund, an initiative that the Qatari Labor Minister rejects.
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