TIME Football

Sepp Blatter: Awarding the World Cup to Qatar Was a ‘Mistake’

FIFA president Sepp Blatter attends a press conference at the conclusion of the meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on Friday, March 21, 2014. Walter Bieri—Keystone/AP

Sepp Blatter laments in an interview with Swiss TV the decision to pick the excruciatingly hot Gulf state as the 2022 host of the games, even hinting that political pressure from Germany and France was behind the selection

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says it was a “mistake” to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar because of the country’s excruciatingly hot summer weather.

World soccer’s most powerful man admitted, “Of course it was an error, but you know, everyone makes a lot of mistakes in life,” during an interview with Swiss television channel RTS.

Qatar’s 2010 designation as World Cup host has been controversial not only because of its extreme temperatures but also because of its allegedly reckless exploitation of migrant workers to construct the necessary facilities. Qatar denies any wrongdoing.

Blatter hinted that the pick of the Gulf state ahead of the likes of the U.S. or South Korea was due to pressure from Germany and France, with then French President Nicolas Sarkozy convening the Qatari Emir and UEFA president Michel Platini at the Élysée Palace in Paris.

“You couldn’t imagine the Swiss President doing that,” he said.

[RTS]

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