“It is too small of a country” – Sepp Blatter says World Cup in Qatar is a ‘mistake’

According to former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, awarding Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup was a “mistake.”

When Qatar was chosen to host the tournament in 2010, the 86-year-old was the chairman of the body that rules global football.

For its attitude on same-sex relationships, human rights record, and treatment of migrant labor, the Gulf state has drawn criticism.

“It is too small of a country. Football and the World Cup are too big for it,” Blatter told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger.

After complaints regarding the treatment of migrant workers constructing the World Cup stadiums in Qatar, Blatter said that FIFA changed the criterion used to choose host countries in 2012.

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“Since then, social considerations and human rights are taken into account,” he added.

A transfer of two million Swiss francs ($2.19 million; £1.6 million) to former UEFA president Michel Platini was said to have been illegally organized by Blatter, who served as president of FIFA for 17 years. Platini was also forced to leave from his post at Fifa.

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Due to the Platini payment, FIFA first banned him from football for eight years, but eventually reduced the term to six. He was then given a further ban until 2028 in March 2021 for “various violations” of the FIFA code of ethics.

Blatter and Platini were accused of fraud in November of last year but were exonerated at a trial in July in Switzerland.

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Two investigations were started by Swiss prosecutors and the US Department of Justice in 2015 into allegations of systemic corruption behind the decisions to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.

Russia and Qatar have consistently maintained their innocence, and FIFA’s own investigation in 2017 effectively exonerated both nations.

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