FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a “mistake”.
When asked by Swiss broadcaster RTS if selecting Qatar was an error, Blatter said: “Of course, it was a mistake.” He added: “You know, one makes a lot of mistakes in life.
“The technical report into Qatar said clearly it was too hot but the executive committee – with a large majority – decided all the same to play it in Qatar.”
However, he denied persisting allegations that Qatar had bought the World Cup. “I will never say that they bought it, because it was political pushing,” he said.
Following his comments FIFA quickly issued a statement to clarify that Blatter had not questioned Qatar’s capability to host the event.
“As explained in his answer to the journalist, the president reiterated that the decision to organise 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,” it said.
“At no stage did he question Qatar as the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
FIFA is currently conducting an investigation into allegations of corruption surrounding the voting procedure that resulted in Qatar’s win.
“An investigation is being run by (New York lawyer) Michael Garcia and the commission is interviewing all those involved in the case and it will soon be delivered to the (FIFA) ethics committee that is going to decide if any measures should be taken,” FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told reporters last month.
“That will be soon, maybe we will have a decision before the 2014 World Cup,” he said.
However, the head of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organising committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi has vehemently rubbished any wrongdoing.
In an interview with UK radio station talkSPORT in April, he said, “We did not buy the World Cup. It’s as simple as that.
“I go back to a lot of people that look at us and say it’s shocking that we won and I go back to the simple thing – why we won. It’s because we worked hard, harder than a lot of people.
“We put heart and soul into this and that’s what frustrates me,” he said.