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President Sarzoky may have impacted the decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar, according to Sepp Blatter.

Updated  

Nov-08 11:57 first published at 11:57 AM


Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has spoken out about President Sarkozy and Michel Platini’s roles in awarding Qatar the 2022 World Cup. Qatar was controversially awarded the World Cup hosting rights in 2010, beating out rival bids from the United States, which was expected to win, South Korea, Japan, and Australia. There were widespread allegations of vote-buying and corruption, but a FIFA-commissioned independent investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, Blatter was charged with fraud after making a £1.7 million payment to Platini, which the pair described as a “gentlemen’s agreement.” Both were found not guilty in a Swiss court, though Blatter is still barred from all football activities. In his first interview since his acquittal, Blatter discussed the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar, the roles of ex-UEFA president Michel Platini and then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Qatar’s immediate purchase of fighter jets from France, and why he considers the decision made in 2010 to be a “mistake.” “Michel Platini called me a week before the 2010 FIFA Congress to tell me that our plan would not work.” “He was invited to President Sarkozy’s palace, where he had just had lunch with Qatar’s Crown Prince,” Blatter told the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. “When the World Cup is awarded, look what you and your UEFA colleagues can do for Qatar,” Sarkozy said to Platini. ‘What would you do if your president asked for something, Sepp?’ I then told him that the question had never occurred to me because Switzerland does not have a president. The World Cup was awarded to Qatar rather than the United States as a result of Platini’s four votes. That’s the truth.” Of course, money was involved. Six months later, Qatar paid $14.6 billion for fighter jets from France.” “The selection of Qatar was a mistake,” Blatter continued. “At the time, the executive committee actually agreed that Russia should host the 2018 World Cup and the United States should host the 2022 World Cup.” If the two long-standing political rivals had hosted the World Cup one after the other, it would have been a gesture of peace.” It is an insufficiently sized country. Football and the World Cup are too big for that.”

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