Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s former president at the time Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup hosting rights, told the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger that “Qatar is a mistake,” adding that “the choice was bad.”
Since its announcement, the Qatar decision has been marred by controversy, including allegations of corruption and human rights violations.
Blatter, FIFA’s president for 17 years, has also been accused of corruption during his tenure. In June, a Swiss court found him not guilty of fraud. The prosecutors have filed an appeal against the decision.
“It is too small of a country. Football and the World Cup are too big for it,” Blatter said of Qatar, the first country in the Middle East to host the tournament.
He stated that FIFA changed its criteria for selecting host countries in 2012 in response to concerns about working conditions at tournament-related construction sites in Qatar.
“Since then, social considerations and human rights are taken into account,” he said.
Blatter stated that he will be watching the tournament from his home in Zurich, which begins in less than two weeks.