• Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

Blatter claims it was a mistake to choose Qatar to host the World Cup.

ByJosh Taylor

Nov 10, 2022

Eight stadiums in and around the city of Doha, which has undergone a complete transformation since 2010 due to enormous development projects in anticipation of the World Cup, will host 64 games between 32 countries.
Sepp Blatter, who was the FIFA president at the time, said on Tuesday that it was a mistake to pick Qatar to host the World Cup. He once more cited a meeting between Michel Platini and Nicolas Sarkozy as having an impact on significant votes.
The 86-year-old Blatter spoke with the Swiss newspaper group Tamedia in his first big interview since being exonerated alongside Platini in July of financial mismanagement at FIFA following a trial at a federal criminal court.
The smallest host nation since the 1954 Swiss tournament, Mr. Blatter said of Qatar, “It’s a country that’s too little.” The World Cup and football are too huge for that.
The 64 games between the 32 nations will take place in eight stadiums in and around Doha, which has undergone a significant renovation since 2010 in preparation for the World Cup.
For the World Cup, which starts on November 20, Qatar is expecting about 1.2 million foreign tourists. Some people will travel from surrounding states because the host nation doesn’t have many lodging options.
It was a poor decision. And I was in charge of that at the time as president,” said Mr. Blatter, who has frequently declared that he voted for the United States. Qatar defeated their bid in the final round of a five-candidate competition to serve as the host city in 2022.
An expected U.S. triumph swung toward Qatar at a meeting Sarkozy hosted in Paris the week before the FIFA executive committee vote on December 2, 2010, according to FIFA history.
Former state President Sarkozy invited French football legend Platini, who was vice president of FIFA and president of the European football body UEFA at the time, to his official residence. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the former crown prince and current emir of Qatar, was also there.
On Tuesday, Mr. Blatter reiterated his accusation that Mr. Sarkozy exerted pressure on Platini and provided a new account of a phone conversation Platini made to him during the Paris meeting informing him that the World Cup vote plan had been altered.
Thanks to Platini and his four votes (for UEFA), Qatar was chosen to host the World Cup rather than the United States. Regarding the 14-8 vote outcome, Mr. Blatter remarked, It’s the truth.
Platini mostly reaffirmed the relevance of that meeting in Paris in remarks to the Associated Press in 2015.
Platini said to an AP reporter in Zurich seven years ago, “Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good.
Since 2010, Mr. Blatter has not particularly addressed criticism of Qatar over labor and human rights issues.
He did, however, inquire as to why Gianni Infantino, his successor as FIFA president, had relocated to live in Qatar for at least the previous year.
Blatter noticed a rise in calls for the establishment of a fund to provide compensation for the families of workers who passed away or were injured from rights organizations and numerous FIFA member federations, notably the United States and England. The calls have been rejected by the government of Qatar, who has called them a “publicity stunt.”
If FIFA’s president is in the same situation as Qatar, what can FIFA say? Regarding Mr. Infantino’s decision to reside in Doha, Mr. Blatter remarked.
A request for comment regarding the interview was not immediately answered by FIFA.
According to Mr. Blatter, who travelled to Moscow for the 2018 World Cup as a guest of Russia while he and Platini were banned from football by FIFA, he would watch matches on television at his Zurich apartment in the coming weeks.

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