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World Cup 2022: Awarding Qatar the tournament was a mistake, says former Fifa president Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter, former president of Fifa, says that Qatar’s awarding the 2022 World Cup was a “mistake”.

Blatter (86) was the president of the governing body for world football when Qatar won the 2010 tournament.

The Gulf state has been criticized for its position on same-sex relationships and human rights records, as well as the treatment of migrants workers.

Blatter stated that he was right to say at the time that the tournament “shouldn’t go” to Qatar in 2022.


The Swiss spoke on the upcoming BBC Radio 5 Live podcast series Power Play-The House of Sepp Blatter, about the decision to award Qatar World Cup.

Interview with Swiss newspaper

Tages Anzeiger,

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Blatter said Qatar is too small to host the tournament, and that football and the World Cup are too big.

The Qatar World Cup is the first in 92 years of the tournament to be held in the Middle East. It will take place between 20 November and 18 December.

Fifa’s executive board voted 14-8 to allow Qatar to host the tournament. This was 12 years before the United States won the event. At the same time, Russia was given the 2018 event.

Blatter claims he voted for America and blames Michel Platini, then-Uefa president, for swinging the vote to Qatar’s favor.

He said that it was a poor decision and that he was responsible as president.

“Thanks to four votes from Platini and his [Uefa] Team, the World Cup went instead to Qatar than to the United States. It is the truth. ”

Blatter said that Fifa had changed the criteria used for selecting host countries in 2012 following concerns raised about the treatment given to migrant workers who were building World Cup stadiums.

He said that social considerations and human right are now taken into account.

Blatter served 17 years as Fifa President. However, he was forced to resign in 2015 after being accused of illegally arranging a transfer worth two million Swiss Francs ($2.19m; PS1.6m).

Fifa initially banned him from football for eight years. This was later reduced to six due to the Platini payment. He was then banned from football for eight years by Fifa, but was later reduced to six years due to “various violations of Fifa’s code of ethics”.

Blatter, and Platini were both charged with fraud last November. however were not found guilty during a Swiss trial in July.

There have been widespread corruption allegations against the decision to award the 2022 and 2018 World Cups respectively to Russia and Qatar. Two investigations were launched in 2015 by the US Department of Justice and Swiss prosecutors.

Russia and Qatar have always denied wrongdoing and were cleared of any allegations by Fifa in 2017.

Fifa wrote recently to rival nations requesting that they “now focus on football” and not the controversial buildup of the competition.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and LGBTQ+ campaigners in England & Wales criticised the Fifa letter, while 10 European soccer associations, including those from England and Wales, said that “human rights are universally applicable and apply everywhere”.

Concerns have been raised about the treatment of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar. In this country, same-sex and promotion of such relationships is criminalised with penalties ranging from death sentences to fines.

Amnesty International claims that this has been the case since 2010.

Many thousands of migrants work in the country

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While building the infrastructure needed to host the tournament, they were subject to human rights violations.

Some players have planned peaceful protests, while Harry Kane of England and nine other European captains will be wearing ‘One Love armbands. To promote inclusion and diversity.

Denmark will protest against Qatar by wearing “toned down” shirts. Hummel, the kit provider, said it “doesn’t want to be visible” at the tournament. Australia’s team released a video asking Qatar to repeal its laws regarding same-sex relationships.

BBC Sport reached out to Fifa and World Cup Organising Committee for comments.

Power Play: The House of Sepp Blatter will appear on BBC Sounds starting 15 November.

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