Sarkozy Speaks At Doha GOALS Forum, Questions International Sports Events Calendar
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave a speech during the Doha GOALS Forum "highlighting the geopolitical role of sports in the 21st century," according to Cyrille Haddouche of SPORT 24. Sarkozy also "put in question" the int'l sports events calendar. Sarkozy applauded UEFA President Michel Platini's decision to have Euro 2020 played throughout Europe. Sarkozy said, "The principle of organizing joint events by a number of countries needs to be favored. In this sense I applaud the idea of UEFA to organize Euro 2020 in 12 European cities." Sarkozy also spoke about FIFA's decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Sarkozy: "I supported the choice. We had to wait until the 21st century for a Muslim country to organize for the first time an event of this importance. It's a big decision" (SPORT 24, 12/11). In London, Owen Gibson noted Sarkozy "was seen as playing a key role in delivering the 2022 World Cup to Qatar," although Platini "has always denied that he influenced his vote." Sarkozy also spoke about the World Cup and the Olympics. Sarkozy said, "The World Cup can't be the prerogative of France, Italy or Britain only. Football is of such importance throughout the world it must be shared. It can't be the exclusive property of a few western nations. If you love football it must be shared." He added, "Is it essential that the Olympic Games be systematically held in the month of August? Where is it written that it must be in August? Would they be less interesting in June? As for the World Cup, which I have followed so passionately for so many years, must it absolutely be organised in July? Were the World Cup to take place in another time of the year, would it not be as enthralling?" (GUARDIAN, 12/11).