Sepp Blatter says picking Qatar as World Cup host was a ‘mistake’
The Fifa president said the move shows the “mistake” of his predecessor Sepp Blatter in picking Qatar.
Blatter said it had “never been a mistake to pick the host”, describing it as a “huge achievement” for Qatar.
“It’s the mistake of the outgoing Sepp Blatter,” he added.
The move to award the 2022 World Cup to the country was announced on Thursday as a joint venture.
“I want to congratulate Qatar on this World Cup,” said Blatter, who is the first president of the competition to have been elected head of the organisation.
“I think it’s a huge achievement and the biggest thing of my presidency. It’s a huge victory for sports.”
The decision comes as the organisers of the men’s and women’s World Cup, who have jointly agreed to split the tournament into two stages – the men in 2019 and the women from 2023 onward, face criticism from sponsors and fans for not putting enough emphasis on women’s football.
“We have to be very strong about it,” Blatter said, but added Qatar would be given more support by the international football community.
“I would say to everybody, if you don’t give them the respect, you don’t have a chance,” he said.
“I think the international community will welcome it.”
The Fifa director of communications for the Americas, Fabrice Baumoulin, confirmed the final decision on the country’s World Cup bid.
The former French president, Blatter, told a news conference in Seville that he was delighted to have Fifa choose Qatar.
“I am delighted to announce that the Fifa Executive Committee has selected Qatar as host of the 2022 Fifa World Cup,” he said.
“I personally want to congratulate Qatar, because it’s an achievement for Qatar, but also an achievement for Fifa.
“I consider it a great step for Fifa.”
Blatter has been criticised as a World Cup host in the past, with critics saying some of the projects he had in mind at the end of his tenure went unre