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Handing the World Cup to Qatar was a “mistake” and a “bad choice”: Sepp Blatter

The decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar 12 years ago was a mistake, FIFA’s president at the time, Sepp Blatter, said. Citing a meeting between Nicolas Sarkozy and Michel Platini for swaying critical votes. 

The 86-year-old Blatter gave his first big interview since being convicted with Platini of financial wrongdoing at FIFA in July, following a trial at a federal criminal court.

“It’s a country that’s too small,” Mr. Blatter said of Qatar, the smallest host country in terms of size since the 1954 tournament in Switzerland. “Football and the World Cup are just too big for that.”

The 32 teams will play 64 games in eight stadiums in and around Doha, which has been transformed by enormous construction projects since 2010 in preparation for the World Cup.

The games begin on November 20, with over 1.2 million foreign tourists anticipated to visit Qatar during the World Cup. Because there are few places to stay in the host country, some people will travel from nearby states.

“It was a bad decision,” Mr. Blatter said, “and as president at the time, I was accountable for it.” Mr. Blatter has long stated that he voted for the United States. Its bid was defeated in the last round of a five-candidate contest to host the 2022 World Cup by Qatar.

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