World Cup 2022: Awarding Qatar the match was a mistake, says former Fifa president Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter first joined Fifa as technical director in 1975 and was voted president in 1998

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter says the choice to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a “mistake”.

Blatter, 86, was president of world soccer’s governing physique when Qatar was awarded the match in 2010.

The Gulf state has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships, human rights report and therapy of migrant employees.

Qatar World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman has stated that homosexuality is “damage in the mind”.

The previous Qatar worldwide advised German broadcaster ZDF that LGBTQ+ folks attending the match ought to “accept our rules”.

There may be concern about how LGBTQ+ individuals are handled in Qatar, the place same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised, with punishments starting from fines to the loss of life sentence.

Talking on upcoming BBC Radio 5 Dwell podcast sequence Energy Play – The Home of Sepp Blatter concerning the resolution to award Qatar the World Cup, Blatter stated: “I was right at a certain time to say, ‘This should not go there.'”

In an interview with Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger, external-link he added Qatar is “too small of a country” to host the match and that “football and the World Cup are too big for it”.

The Qatar World Cup, the primary to be hosted within the Center East within the match’s 92-year-history and the primary in the course of the Northern Hemisphere winter, takes place from 20 November to 18 December.

Fifa’s government committee voted 14-8 for Qatar to host the match forward of america 12 years in the past, on the similar time Russia was awarded the 2018 occasion.

Blatter says he voted for america and blames then-Uefa president Michel Platini for swinging the vote in Qatar’s favour.

“It was a bad choice and I was responsible for that as president at the time,” he stated.

“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 additionally stated Fifa had adjusted the factors used to pick out host international locations in 2012 after considerations have been raised concerning the therapy of migrant employees constructing World Cup stadiums in Qatar.

“Since then, social considerations and human rights are taken into account,” he added.

Blatter spent 17 years as Fifa president however was pressured to step down in 2015 over allegations he unlawfully organized a switch of two million Swiss francs ($2.19m; £1.6m) to Platini, who was additionally pressured to resign from his place at Fifa.

He was initially banned from soccer by Fifa for eight years, later lowered to 6, over the Platini cost. In March 2021 he then acquired a further ban till 2028 for “various violations” of Fifa’s code of ethics.

Blatter and Platini have been charged with fraud final November however have been discovered not responsible at a trial in Switzerland in July.

The choice to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively has been dogged by accusations of widespread corruption, with two investigations launched by Swiss prosecutors and the US Division of Justice in 2015.

Qatar and Russia have at all times denied any wrongdoing, and each have been successfully cleared by Fifa’s personal investigation in 2017.

Fifa just lately wrote to competing nations asking them to “now focus on the football” as an alternative of the competitors’s controversial build-up.

The Fifa letter was criticised by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty Worldwide and LGBTQ+ campaigners in England and Wales, whereas 10 European soccer associations – together with these of England and Wales – stated “human rights are universal and apply everywhere”.

Amnesty Worldwide says that since 2010, lots of of hundreds of migrant employeesexternal-link have confronted human rights abuses whereas employed to construct wider infrastructure essential to host the match.

Peaceable protests have been deliberate by some gamers, whereas England’s Harry Kane and 9 different captains of European groups might be carrying ‘One Love’ armbands. to advertise variety and inclusion.

Denmark will put on “toned-down” shirts to protest towards Qatar, with package supplier Hummel saying it “does not wish to be visible” in a match it claims “has cost thousands of lives”, whereas Australia’s squad have launched a video urging Qatar to abolish its legal guidelines on same-sex relationships.

World Cup ambassador says homosexuality is ‘injury within the thoughts’

Salman was talking to ZDF in a documentary to be broadcast on Tuesday.

“They have to accept our rules here,” he stated. “[Homosexuality] is haram. You know what haram [forbidden] means?”

When requested why it was haram, Salman stated: “I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind.”

The interview was then instantly stopped by an accompanying official.

The host nation’s World Cup organisers have acknowledged “everyone is welcome” to go to the nation to look at the soccer matches and claimed nobody might be discriminated towards.

Nevertheless, Qatar 2022 chief government, Nasser al Khater, has stated the federal government wouldn’t change its legal guidelines on homosexuality, requesting guests “respect our culture”.

LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall’s director of communications and exterior affairs Robbie de Santos stated human rights have been being “disregarded and disrespected”.

Chatting with BBC World Service’s Sport At the moment, he added: “It’s surprising and disappointing the Qatar authorities have given assurances to the United Nations and other multilateral bodies about respecting human rights during the tournament and making commitments to social progress and what we’re seeing is those commitments are not being kept on with.

“That is why it is so essential that each one of us are listening globally and following the match and figuring out that soccer actually is everybody’s recreation, that all of us communicate.”

BBC Sport has contacted Fifa and the World Cup organising committee for comment.

Energy Play – The Home of Sepp Blatter might be out there on BBC Sounds from 15 November.