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

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter first joined Fifa as technical director in 1975 and was voted president in 1998

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter says the choice to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a “mistake”.

Blatter, 86, was president of world soccer’s governing physique when Qatar was awarded the event in 2010.

The Gulf state has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships, human rights report and therapy of migrant staff.

“It’s too small of a rustic. Soccer and the World Cup are too large for it,” he informed Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger.external-link

The Qatar World Cup, the primary to be hosted within the Center East within the event’s 92-year-history and the primary in the course of the Northern Hemisphere winter, takes place from 20 November to 18 December.

Fifa’s government committee voted 14-8 for Qatar to host the event forward of the US 12 years in the past, on the similar time Russia was awarded the 2018 occasion.

Blatter says he voted for the US and blames then-Uefa president Michel Platini for swinging the vote in Qatar’s favour.

“It was a nasty selection and I used to be chargeable for that as president on the time,” he mentioned.

“Because of the 4 votes of Platini and his [Uefa] crew, the World Cup went to Qatar somewhat than the US. It is the reality.”

Blatter additionally mentioned Fifa had adjusted the factors used to pick out host nations in 2012 after issues have been raised concerning the therapy of migrant staff constructing World Cup stadiums in Qatar.

“Since then, social issues and human rights are taken under consideration,” he added.

Blatter spent 17 years as Fifa president however was pressured 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 pressured to resign from his place at Fifa.

He was initially banned from soccer by Fifa for eight years, later diminished to 6, over the Platini cost. In March 2021 he then received an additional ban until 2028 for “varied violations” of Fifa’s code of ethics.

Blatter and Platini have been charged with fraud final November however were found not guilty at a trial in Switzerland in July.

The choice 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 Division of Justice in 2015.

Qatar and Russia have at all times denied any wrongdoing, and each have been successfully cleared by Fifa’s personal investigation in 2017.

Fifa recently wrote to competing nations asking them to “now concentrate on the soccer” as an alternative of the competitors’s controversial build-up.

The Fifa letter was criticised by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty Worldwide and LGBTQ+ campaigners in England and Wales, whereas 10 European soccer associations – together with these of England and Wales – mentioned “human rights are common and apply in all places”.

There may be 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 dying sentence.

Amnesty Worldwide says that since 2010, hundreds of thousands of migrant workersexternal-link have confronted human rights abuses whereas employed to construct wider infrastructure essential to host the event.

Peaceable protests have been deliberate by some gamers, whereas England’s Harry Kane and 9 different captains of European groups shall be sporting ‘One Love’ armbands. to advertise range and inclusion.

Denmark will put on “toned-down” shirts to protest in opposition to Qatar, with package supplier Hummel saying it “doesn’t want to be seen” in a event it claims “has value 1000’s of lives”, whereas Australia’s squad have released a video urging Qatar to abolish its legal guidelines on same-sex relationships.

World Cup ambassador says homosexuality is “harm within the thoughts”

A Qatar World Cup ambassador has mentioned that homosexuality is “harm within the thoughts” and LGBTQ+ folks attending the event ought to “settle for our guidelines.”

Former Qatar worldwide Khalid Salman was talking to German broadcaster ZDF in a documentary to be broadcast on Tuesday.

“They’ve to simply accept our guidelines right here,” Salman mentioned. “[Homosexuality] is haram. what haram [forbidden] means?,” he mentioned.

When requested why it was haram, Salman mentioned: “I’m not a strict Muslim however why is it haram? As a result of it’s harm within the thoughts.”

The interview was then instantly stopped by an accompanying official.

The host nation’s World Cup organisers have said “everyone seems to be welcome” to go to the nation to look at the soccer matches and claimed nobody shall be discriminated in opposition to.

Nonetheless, Qatar 2022 chief government, Nasser al Khater, has mentioned the federal government wouldn’t change its legal guidelines on homosexuality, requesting guests “respect our tradition”.

BBC Sport has contacted Fifa and World Cup organising committee for remark.

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