Shortly before the World Cup, former FIFA President Sepp Blatter criticized the fact that the tournament is being held in Qatar. He describes this decision – made in 2010 under his rule – as a mistake.
Blatter informed the Swiss media group Tamedia about allocating the World Cup to Qatar. “Football and the World Cup are too big for a small country like Qatar. It was a wrong choice and I was responsible for it as FIFA president,” he said.
The 86-year-old Swiss argued in 2010 to host the 2022 World Cup in the United States. In combination with the 2018 World Cup, which was allocated to Russia in the same vote, he saw a message of political fraternity.
“It would have been a gesture of peace if these two political rivals had organized the World Cup one after the other.”
In the years since the World Cup was dedicated to Qatar, Blatter has also been critical of the choice that was made. In 2014, he already expressed his regrets. However, under his leadership, FIFA did not take actual steps to deprive the country of the tournament.
A Netflix documentary on fraudulent practices in FIFA under Blatter will be released soon.
Van Praag: “It shouldn’t have happened”
Michael van Praag, the former head of the KNVB who bid for the World Cup in the Netherlands in 2010, already suspected corruption when the World Cup was dedicated to Qatar. “FIFA should have started the investigation immediately,” he told NPO 1 radio last week.
“I also urged Blatter to do it. But when they started building all the stadiums, FIFA couldn’t do anything anymore. Then there were huge claims. The World Cup wasn’t supposed to go to Qatar.”
Of the 22 CEOs assigned to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, 16 were later convicted of or linked to corruption. “Michel Platini, then UEFA president, wanted the 2022 World Cup in America,” says Van Praag.
“Even a delegation from Qatar went to Nicolas Sarkozy (French President, editor). If Platini wanted to push for Qatar after all, Sarkozy apparently asked him. Paris Saint-Germain fell into the hands of the Qataris soon after and Platini’s son got the job. Perhaps. France wouldn’t get any worse, either.”
Evil tv scholar. Proud twitter aficionado. Travel ninja. Hipster-friendly zombie fanatic.