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:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

TENNIS

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Target: Hamilton

Target: Hamilton

Nico Rosberg out to wreck Hamilton hat-trick bid.  Full Article 

Back on Top

Back on Top

Podolski double gets Arsenal back into top four.  Full Article 

IPL Boycott

IPL Boycott

News agencies to boycott IPL over photo restrictions.  Full Article 

Pistorius Trial

Pistorius Trial

Prosecutor wraps up Pistorius grilling in murder trial.  Full Article 

Djokovic Cruises

Djokovic Cruises

Novak Djokovic strolls into Monte Carlo third round.  Full Article 

Boston Anniversary

Boston Anniversary

Boston marks anniversary of bombing with somber ceremonies.  Full Article 

Against World Cup

Against World Cup

Small-scale World Cup protests continue in Brazil.  Full Article 

Formula One

Formula One

Red Bull appeal rejected - International Federation.  Full Article 

Sloppy Work

Sloppy Work

CAS blasts Jamaica over sloppy anti-doping procedures.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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