Financial News

  • 16 May 2014, 21:54

Fifa Head: Qatar Summer World Cup A 'Mistake'

The decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a "mistake" because of the high summer temperatures there, Fifa President Sepp Blatter has said.

In an interview with the Swiss television channel RTS Mr Blatter said: "We made a mistake. A mistake. You know we make lots of mistakes in life.

"The technical report from Qatar indicated that it is too hot in summer but the executive committee, with a pretty substantial majority still decided that we will play in Qatar."

Temperatures can reach 50C in the summer months, and the possibility of the tournament being moved has been mooted.

Mr Blatter said it was "probable, in fact it's even more than probable" that the event will be played in the winter.

An official decision is due at the end of this year.

The Arab state's successful bid for the tournament has also been the subject of numerous allegations of corruption.

But Mr Blatter insisted Qatar had not "bought" the World Cup: "No. I will never say they bought it," he said.

Fifa issued a statement after the interview insisting Mr Blatter was not questioning the choice of Qatar.

"As explained in his answer to the journalist, the president reiterated that the decision to organize 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 shocked many when it awarded the tournament to Qatar ahead of the likes of the US and South Korea.

Since then, there have been a number of controversies surrounding the upcoming tournament.

In an interview with Sky News last year, Fifa's head inspector said the 2022 decision was a mistake.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls said Qatar "was not the best option" and revealed he was certain it would win the three days before the decisive Fifa vote in December 2010.

Mr Blatter was criticised in 2010 for joking that gay people should "refrain from sexual activities" during the competition.

In March, The Daily Telegraph published fresh allegations of impropriety surrounding the bidding process, claims Fifa promised to investigate.

The deaths of hundreds of migrant workers in the country has also caused controversy; with 185 Nepali workers killed in 2013 alone.

A member of the committee tasked with delivering the tournament has insisted that no construction workers have been killed on a World Cup site.

Nasser Al Khater said it was "not possible to have 400 deaths when you are still digging a hole in the ground".

A "workers' charter" was published in February in order to protect the rights of migrant employees.

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