Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a “mistake.”
Blatter, 86, was world football’s governing body president when Qatar was awarded the tournament in 2010.
The Gulf state has been criticised for its standpoint on same-sex relationships, human rights records, and the treatment of migrant workers.
Blatter said he was “right” to have said at the time that the tournament “should not go” to Qatar for 2022.
In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger, Blatter added Qatar is “too small of a country” to host the tournament and that “football and the World Cup are too big for it.”
The Qatar World Cup, the first to be hosted in the Middle East in the tournament’s 92-year-history and the first during the Northern Hemisphere winter, takes place from 20 November to 18 December.
Fifa’s executive committee voted 14-8 for Qatar to host the tournament ahead of the United States, while Russia was awarded the 2018 event.
Blatter says he voted for the United States and blames then-Uefa president Michel Platini for swinging the vote in Qatar’s favour.
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“It was a bad choice, and I was responsible for that as president at the time,” he said.
“Thanks to the four votes of Platini and his [Uefa] team, the World Cup went to Qatar rather than the United States. It’s the truth.”
Blatter also said Fifa had modified the criteria used to select host countries in 2012 after concerns were raised about the treatment of migrant workers building World Cup stadiums in Qatar.
“Since then, social considerations and human rights are taken into account,” he added.