FIFA’s Blatter: Only “An Earthquake” Will Stop Qatar From Hosting World Cup

The FIFA President said that both Qatar and Russia will retain their World Cup hosting rights even as the football governing body voted to publish Michael Garcia’s investigative report.



Football governing body FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter said that the 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar, adding that only a drastic event like an earthquake will be able to stop it.

“It would really need an earthquake, extremely important new elements, to go back on this World Cup in Qatar,” he told reporters in a news conference last week.

Blatter said that the only thing that was missing now is the precise date for the 2022 World Cup, which too will be disclosed soon.

Meanwhile, Qatar 2022 supreme committee for delivery and legacy of the World Cup said that it welcomed FIFA’s review and reassurance.

“We have always been confident of our position in relation to our successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” the committee said in a statement.

“Since 2010 our focus has been delivering an historic first World Cup to the Middle East. That has not and will never change.”

Blatter also announced that FIFA executives have agreed to publish a “legally appropriate version” of a recent report into allegations of corruption in awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar respectively.

“We have always been determined the truth should be known,” said Blatter.

“That is, after all, why we set up an independent ethics committee with an investigatory chamber that has all necessary means to undertake investigations on its own initiative.”

The report will be published only after securing witness confidentiality, the official said.

“We need to ensure that we respect the rules of our organisation and that we do not breach confidentiality in a way that will prevent people from speaking out in the future,” Blatter said.

However, he added that Qatar and Russia would not lose their hosting rights after the publication of the report.

FIFA’s announcement comes as its ethics investigator Michael Garcia resigned in protest in the way his report about corruption was handled by the football governing body.

Garcia issued a statement saying that it was “the lack of leadership” on ethics issues within FIFA “that leads me to conclude that my role in this process is at an end.”

The 42-page summary of Garcia’s report, compiled by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, absolved Qatar and Russia of all corruption claims and ruled out a rebidding process for the World Cup.