European politicians pressured for Qatar to get World Cup - Blatter

BERLIN Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:10am IST

FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses the media after meeting the presidents of the soccer federations of Israel and Palestine at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich September 3, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses the media after meeting the presidents of the soccer federations of Israel and Palestine at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich September 3, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Related Topics

BERLIN (Reuters) - Top European politicians pressured world soccer's governing body (FIFA) to award the 2022 soccer World Cup to Qatar, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Wednesday.

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 Germany's Die Zeit 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.

European soccer boss 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.

Staging the tournament in the Middle East has sparked widespread consternation because, if it is held over its traditional dates in the middle of the year, players will have to contend with 50 degrees Celsius heat.

Calls to move the World Cup to the northern hemisphere winter have also proved unpopular as it would disrupt domestic league competitions in countries such as Spain, England, Italy, Germany and France.

European soccer clubs said they wanted to be involved in discussions over any possible switch of dates.

The Australian Football federation (FFA), which had also bid for the same tournament, is already demanding compensation.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Justin Palmer)

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

Indian Healthcare

Indian Healthcare

Exclusive - Payment delays dent India's flagship health, AIDS programmes  Full Article 

India-Pakistan Ties

India-Pakistan Ties

Indian, Pakistani foreign secretaries to meet in Islamabad.  Full Article 

Food Security

Food Security

India will not cut multi-billion dollar food handout programme - PM   Full Article 

Jaitley Speaks

Jaitley Speaks

India needs sustained GDP growth of 9-10 percent - Jaitley.  Full Article 

Obama Interview

Obama Interview

Exclusive - Nemtsov killing sign of worsening climate in Russia: Obama.  Full Article 

Environment Concerns

Environment Concerns

Deforestation could shift monsoons, leaving India high and dry.  Full Article 

Forbes Rich List

Forbes Rich List

Bill Gates tops Forbes rich list, Michael Jordan joins.  Full Article 

New Tour

New Tour

Pop icon Madonna announces dates for 'Rebel Heart' tour.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage