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

Rajalakshmi (C), 28, smiles after winning the Miss Wheelchair India beauty pageant in Mumbai November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Miss Wheelchair India

Seven women from across India participated in the country's second wheelchair beauty pageant, which aims to open doors for the wheelchair-bound in modelling, film and television, according to organisers  Slideshow 

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:

Cricket Tragedy

REUTERS SHOWCASE

IAAF Presidency

IAAF Presidency

Athletics - Coe announces plans to run for IAAF presidency.  Full Article 

Spieth Shines

Spieth Shines

Golf - Spieth upstages McIlroy, Scott at Australian Open.  Full Article 

Coach Speaks

Coach Speaks

Dortmund need results, not perfect football - Klopp.  Full Article 

Brazilian Cup

Brazilian Cup

Atletico Mineiro win Brazilian Cup.  Full Article 

Golf Update

Golf Update

Steady as she goes for jet-lagged McIlroy in Sydney.  Full Article 

Indian Soccer

Indian Soccer

India's two leagues to merge within five years - FA official.  Full Article 

Proud Wenger

Proud Wenger

Wenger proud of Arsenal but says they can do better   Full Article | Related Story 

Mandzukic Hat-trick

Mandzukic Hat-trick

Mandzukic shifts into top gear with European treble  Full Article 

Sun's Doping Ban

Sun's Doping Ban

WADA may appeal Sun's three-month doping ban  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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