Former FIFA-President Joseph Blatter has reiterated that awarding the upcoming World Cup to Qatar was “a mistake” and accepts his responsibility as the head of football’s ruling body at the time.
Blatter told Tuesday’s edition of Swiss paper Tages-Anzeiger that he had favoured the United States bid ahead of the FIFA vote in 2010.
“The award to Qatar was a mistake. And I was responsible for that as president at the time,” Blatter said.
“It is too small as a country – football and the World Cup are too big for it,” he added.
The World Cup starts next week Sunday, November 20, and runs until December 18.
Blatter, who was FIFA president 1998-2015, said he would not attend the tournament.
Qatar has been criticised for years over its human rights record, mainly in connection with its treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQI+ community but sustainability questions have also been raised.
Blatter also reiterated that former UEFA president Michel Platini was the reason why Qatar was surprisingly elected host nation, having been pressured by then French President Nicolas Sarkozy to vote for Qatar and that several votes then went to the Middle East country.
Blatter also was critical of current FIFA president Gianni Infantino for moving to Qatar earlier in the year, saying that puts him too close to the organizers.
The FIFA President should be in charge,” Blatter said.
“For example, there is a proposal to set up a fund for the deceased workers and their survivors. Qatar says no. What should FIFA say now when its president is in the same boat as Qatar?” Blatter asked.