Since Switzerland in 1954, Qatar will be the smallest nation to host the World Cup. The Gulf country is not even as big as Connecticut.
Sepp Blatter attempt to take the high ground in history has come a little too late – too late by twelve years.
In an interview that was published on Tuesday, the former president of FIFA, who amassed a substantial amount of authority over his nearly two decades in office, admitted that awarding Qatar the World Cup in 2010 was “a mistake.”
The country is too small. The World Cup and football are too large for it, Blatter told the Swiss media company Tamedia. Blatter is correct when he says this. Qatar, a country that is smaller than Connecticut, is employing tents and cabins to house the 1.5 million tourists who are anticipated during the World Cup, which starts on Nov. 20. But even that is insufficient!
Some fans are staying somewhere in the area and “commuting” to Qatar on game days because lodging options are so limited. During the group stage, only visitors with match tickets are permitted in; Qatari officials didn’t make the announcement that all spectators would be welcome during the knockout stages until Monday, just 13 days before the tournament gets underway.
But these problems are not new. Over the past ten years, Qatar did not get smaller. The World Cup field’s dimensions remained the same. Since it began 50 years ago, throngs of fans from all around the world have descended upon the World Cup.
Sepp Blatter and his FIFA peers were aware of this. They were also aware of Qatar’s oppressive policies toward foreign laborers, who were necessary for building infrastructure and stadiums. In the same way that they were aware of Qatar’s appalling treatment of women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The same way they were aware that a World Cup in Qatar within its customary window of June and July was unachievable due to the country’s summer heat.
Despite the fact that this was Sepp Blatter’s sharpest critique of the upcoming World Cup, it is well known that he has mixed feelings regarding Qatar. He made it known that he cast his ballot for the United States, and in the Tamedia interview, he once more attempted to place the blame on former European football director Michel Platini.
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The final vote of FIFA’s Executive Committee was 14-8 in favor of Qatar over the United States. “Thanks to the four votes of Platini and his (European team), the World Cup went to Qatar rather than the United States. It’s the truth,” Sepp Blatter said. But there were 10 other Executive Committee members who voted for Qatar, and there’s been no indication Blatter did much to try and influence their vote.
He claimed that in response to complaints about the working conditions at building sites in Qatar related to the event, FIFA changed the criteria it used to choose host countries in 2012.
Since then, he continued, social factors and human rights have been taken into account.
Sepp Blatter stated that he will watch the competition from his Zurich home, where it will begin in less than two weeks.
Opinion on Sepp Blatter's interview
Sepp Blatter has other options besides the Qatari “gifts.” He could have reminded the non-European members of all he had done for them and informed them of the boundaries of his benevolence. He might have sent a spreadsheet outlining FIFA’s financial performance to the whole ExCo.
Instead, Blatter decided to hold off on criticizing FIFA’s decision until it was too late.
That’s self-interest protection, not bravery. Their main concern is something Blatter and his associates demonstrated twelve years ago.
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