Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said that the choice to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a mistake. The 86-year-old served as the eighth president of the governing body of football between 1998 and 2015.
He has since been replaced by Gianni Infantino, but the decision to have Qatar hold the tournament this year was made in 2010. That, too, came amidst a lot of controversy.
Sepp Blatter reveals Qatar World Cup was a mistake
The choice of Qatar was a mistake,” he told Swiss publication Tages-Anzeiger.
“At the time, we actually agreed in the executive committee that Russia should get the 2018 World Cup and the USA that of 2022. It would have been a gesture of peace if the two long-standing political opponents had hosted the World Cup one after the other.
“It’s too small a country. Football and the World Cup are too big for that.”
Sepp Blatter added: “I can only repeat: the award to Qatar was a mistake, and I was responsible for that as president at the time.
“Now that the World Cup is imminent, I’m glad that, with a few exceptions, no footballers are boycotting the World Cup.
“For me it is clear: Qatar is a mistake. The choice was bad. What I’m wondering: why is the new FIFA president [Gianni Infantino] living in Qatar? He can’t be the head of the local World Cup organisation. That’s not his job. There are two organising committees for this – a local one and one from FIFA.”
Human rights violations and a negative attitude towards women and people within the LGBTQ+ community are only the tip of the iceberg. However, despite protests, the competition is set to go through starting November 20.