FIFA admits awarding World Cup to Qatar was ‘mistake’

FIFA admits awarding World Cup to Qatar was ‘mistake’
Fri May 16, 2014 17:36:04

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says awarding 2022 World Cup to Qatar was "a mistake" because of the extreme heat players will face in the Persian Gulf state.

Speaking to Swiss channel RTS, the FIFA president said, "Of course, it was a mistake. You know, one makes a lot of mistakes in life”.

"The technical report indicated clearly that it was too hot in summer, but despite that the executive committee decided with quite a big majority that the tournament would be in Qatar."

Blatter did not mention whether admitting the mistake had anything to do with the controversy over Qatar’s harsh treatment of foreign workers who poured to the country to work on construction sites.

Harsh working conditions for foreign laborers in Qatar first came to light last September and the deaths of at least 36 Nepalese construction workers were registered in the weeks following the September revelations.

A Nepalese human rights organization reported in February that at least 400 Nepalese workers lost their lives on World Cup stadium construction sites in Qatar.

After Qatar won hosting world’s biggest football event for 2022, many raised suspicions that Qatar didn’t qualify for hosting the tournament and actually paid to win it.

Blatter however insisted that Qatar had not "bought" the World Cup – the bid did spend large amounts of money on sponsorship and development programs.

He added, "No, I have never said it was bought, but that it was due to political considerations. We know full well that big French and German companies work in Qatar but they don't just work for the World Cup. The World Cup is only a small part of what is going on in Qatar."

Asked about his future at the helm of FIFA, Blatter again indicated he would stand for a fifth term in next year's election. "At the moment I say I want to finish my mandate well. Of course I am willing to continue," he said.

A decision on whether the tournament will be moved from summer to the winter in eight years' time has been postponed by FIFA until after next month's World Cup finals in Brazil.

Fifa later released a statement that attempted to clarify Blatter's comments.

"The comment by the Fifa president concerning the organization of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar to Swiss TV station RTS is in line with previous comments on this matter," it read.

"As explained in his answer to the journalist, the president reiterated that the decision to organize the World Cup in summer was an 'error' based on the technical assessment report of the bid, which had highlighted the extremely hot temperatures in summer in Qatar. At no stage did he question Qatar as hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup."


string(730) "[{"id":"1535338","sort":"3204577","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/11/18/alalam_635203626695875064_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"FIFA should not stand workers’ right abuse in Qatar"} ,{"id":"1545696","sort":"3204578","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/12/18/alalam_635229534784033838_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Unpaid migrant workers left to go hungry in Qatar: Amnesty"} ,{"id":"1566866","sort":"3204579","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/18/alalam_635283094675329776_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Qatar World Cup toll: 450 Indian migrant workers dead"} ,{"id":"1594413","sort":"3204580","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/05/15/alalam_635357750570403437_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"In Qatar: At least 1 migrant worker died each day in past 2 years"} ]"