Blatter Admits Selecting Qatar As '22 World Cup Host Was Mistake
FIFA President Sepp Blatter admitted that it "was a mistake to choose Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup amid concerns over the country's searing climate," according to the London TELEGRAPH. It is believed that the tournament "will be moved to the winter to avoid matches taking place in such heat." Blatter in an interview with Switzerland-based RTS said, "Of course, it was a mistake. You know, one makes a lot of mistakes in life." But Blatter insisted that Qatar "had not 'bought' the World Cup -- the bid did spend large amounts of money on sponsorship and development programmes" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/16). The GUARDIAN notes a decision on whether the tournament "will be moved from summer to the winter in eight years' time has been postponed by FIFA until after next month's World Cup." Blatter in the interview said, "The technical report indicated clearly that it was too hot in summer, but despite that the executive committee decided with quite a big majority that the tournament would be in Qatar." FIFA in a statement said Blatter's comment "is in line with previous comments on this matter. ... At no stage did he question Qatar as hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup." Meanwhile, Blatter "again indicated he would stand for a fifth term in next year's election." Blatter: "At the moment I say I want to finish my mandate well. Of course I am willing to continue" (GUARDIAN, 5/16).
NOT WORKING OUT: The LONDON TIMES writes FIFA's "controversial decision to award the tournament to Qatar in December 2010 has sparked outrage, not only over that process but also the conditions thousands of migrant workers have subsequently faced." Qatar has been "forced to overhaul its labour laws after it was revealed that hundreds of migrants had died in appalling and unsafe conditions while employed on the vast construction projects." Indian embassy figures suggest that more than 700 of its countrymen "have died there while building the stadiums and necessary infrastructure." The Int'l Trade Union Confederation warned that as many as 4,000 workers in all "could be the casualty of the construction process before the first match kicks off" (LONDON TIMES, 5/16).