Ex-FIFA boss regrets choice of Qatar for World Cup

Blatter (archive picture) was FIFA president between 1998 to 2015 before he was banned. Keystone / Georg Hochmuth

The former FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, says the choice of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup was a mistake as the Gulf country is too small.

This content was published on November 8, 2022 minutes

"Football and the World Cup are too big for that," the former president of the world football's governing body, FIFA said in an interview with the newspapers of the Swiss Tamedia group on Tuesday.

It had been a bad choice, he said. "And I bore responsibility for that as president at the time," Blatter said.

Originally, the executive committee had wanted to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to the United States. "It would have been a gesture of peace if the two political opponents had hosted the World Cup one after the other," Blatter said. But important votes then went to Qatar.

Blatter again citied a meeting between the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Michel Platini, the former head of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)for swaying key votes.


Blatter said his acquittal for fraud before Switzerland's  federal criminal court in July is unequivocal and "no second-class acquittal."

In October, however, the federal prosecutors office filed a definitive appeal against the acquittal in the trial against Blatter and Platini. Both ex-bosses applied to the appeals court for the complete annulment of the first-instance verdict.

Blatter does not see the fact that only the prosecutors office and not FIFA appealed against the court's verdict at the beginning of July as a sign of peace. "On the contrary," he said, accusing the current head of FIFA Gianni Infantino of avoiding him. He also says that the decision's continuation is incomprehensible; everything had proceeded transparently. 

According to Blatter, the fact that investigations had come about at all was due to resentment on the other side of the Atlantic.

"The Americans, with whom the Swiss prosecutors cooperated, were angry because the World Cup tournament had not gone to them but to Qatar." While this was not corroborated, the ex-FIFA chief conceded. "History will show how it was."

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