Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter says the determination to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a “mistake”.
Blatter, 86, was president of world football’s governing body when Qatar was awarded the tournament in 2010.
The Gulf state has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships, human rights record and treatment of migrant staff.
“It is too small of a country. Football and the World Cup are too big for it,” he told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger.
The Qatar World Cup, the first to be hosted in the Middle East in the tournament’s 92-year-history and the first throughout the Northern Hemisphere winter, takes place from 20 November to 18 December.
Fifa’s government committee voted 14-8 for Qatar to host the tournament forward of the United States 12 years in the past, at the same time Russia was awarded the 2018 occasion.
Blatter says he voted for the United States and blames then-Uefa president Michel Platini for swinging the vote in Qatar’s favour.
“It was a bad choice and I was responsible for that as president at the time,” he said.
“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.”
Blatter additionally said Fifa had adjusted the standards used to select host countries in 2012 after issues have been raised about the treatment of migrant staff constructing World Cup stadiums in Qatar.
“Since then, social considerations and human rights are taken into account,” he added.
Blatter spent 17 years as Fifa president however was compelled to step down in 2015 over allegations he unlawfully organized a switch of two million Swiss francs ($2.19m; £1.6m) to Platini, who was additionally compelled to resign from his position at Fifa.
He was initially banned from football by Fifa for eight years, later diminished to six, over the Platini cost. In March 2021 he then received an extra ban till 2028 for “various violations” of Fifa’s code of ethics.
Blatter and Platini have been charged with fraud last November however have been discovered not responsible at a trial in Switzerland in July.
The determination to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively has been dogged by accusations of widespread corruption, with two investigations launched by Swiss prosecutors and the US Department of Justice in 2015.
Qatar and Russia have all the time denied any wrongdoing, and both have been successfully cleared by Fifa’s personal investigation in 2017.
Fifa not too long ago wrote to competing nations asking them to “now focus on the football” as a substitute of the competitors’s controversial build-up.
The Fifa letter was criticised by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and LGBTQ+ campaigners in England and Wales, whereas 10 European football associations – together with these of England and Wales – said “human rights are universal and apply everywhere”.
There is concern about how LGBTQ+ persons are handled in Qatar, the place same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised, with punishments starting from fines to the loss of life sentence.
Amnesty International says that since 2010, lots of of 1000’s of migrant staff have confronted human rights abuses whereas employed to construct wider infrastructure vital to host the tournament.
Peaceful protests have been deliberate by some players, whereas England’s Harry Kane and 9 other captains of European groups will be sporting ‘One Love’ armbands. to promote range and inclusion.
Denmark will put on “toned-down” shirts to protest against Qatar, with equipment supplier Hummel saying it “does not wish to be visible” in a tournament it claims “has cost thousands of lives”, whereas Australia’s squad have released a video urging Qatar to abolish its legal guidelines on same-sex
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