"It was a bad choice" – Sepp Blatter admits awarding the World Cup to Qatar was a mistake

Sepp Blatter, World Cup 2022 Qatar
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has labelled the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar a "mistake", and accepted personal responsibility for the outcome of the nation's 2010 bid.

"It was a bad choice and I was responsible for that as president at the time," Blatter has told Swiss outlet Tages Anzeige. "Thanks to the four votes of Michel Platini and his [Uefa] team, the World Cup went to Qatar rather than [rival bidders] the United States. It's the truth."

Accusations of corruption have followed World Cup organisers ever since the decision to award Qatar the tournament, with investigations into bribery and corruption at FIFA launched in the years following.

FIFA have been further criticised over its decision to select a host nation unable to stage the tournament during the northern hemisphere's summer months - owing to the extremely hot temperatures - as well as its appalling human rights record and treatment of migrant workers. To date, almost 7,000 migrant workers have died while building the stadiums to be used during the tournament.

FIFA changed the policy it uses to select host nations in 2012, two years after the 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar, to take human rights into account. "Since then, social considerations and human rights are taken into account," Blatter added.

In 2015, Blatter was forced to step down as FIFA president, following 17 years in charge, over allegations that he unlawfully transferred £1.6 million to Platini, who was also forced to resign from his position at Fifa.

He was banned from football for eight years, reduced to six later on, over the Platini payment saga. He then received an additional ban until 2028 for "various violations" of FIFA's code of ethics. Blatter and Platini were charged with fraud last November but were found not guilty.

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