Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA president when Qatar was granted the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup in 2010, told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger that “Qatar is a mistake”, adding that “the choice was bad”. Qatar’s decision has been marred by controversy, including allegations of corruption and human rights abuses, since it was first announced.
Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, was also embroiled in corruption charges during his tenure. He was cleared of fraud by a Swiss court in June. Prosecutors appealed the decision. “It’s too small a country. Football and the World Cup are too big for him,” Blatter said of Qatar, the first country in the Middle East to host the tournament.
He said FIFA in 2012 changed the criteria it used to select host nations in light of concerns about working conditions at construction sites linked to the tournament in Qatar. “Since then, social considerations and human rights have been taken into account,” he said.
Blatter said he would watch the tournament, which kicks off in less than two weeks, from his home in Zurich.
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