Berlin: Fifa president Sepp Blatter, on Wednesday, said the top European politicians pressurised the soccer body to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
The tiny and energy-rich Gulf state was awarded the World Cup three years ago in a surprise decision which Blatter said was partly because of European politicians urging Fifa members to vote for it.
“Clearly yes,” Blatter told a German newspaper when asked whether there was political pressure before the vote.
“There was direct political influence. European heads of governments advised voting Fifa members to vote for Qatar because of the wide financial interests linked with that country,” Blatter said.
Michel Platini, a possible successor to Blatter, has said in the past he had dinner with then French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the head of Qatar’s government prior to the vote but denied being told by the French politician to vote for the Middle Eastern bid.
The 2022 World Cup is mired in controversy with Blatter recently admitting it was a mistake to plan for a summer tournament in the desert state. (Reuters)