French President Nicolas Sarkozy is the only reason the World Cup is in Qatar and it is a huge mistake, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter said categorically in an interview with Swiss media.
“We had a preliminary agreement before the gathering in 2010 that the finals would be successively in Russia and the USA. We saw it as a beautiful sign – successive worlds in old political enemies. However, a week before the meeting, Michel Platini called me and explained that our plan would not work. He was summoned by President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had just had lunch with the Emir of Qatar. The president directly told him to support the Arab candidacy. When I asked him what we were doing, he just replied – what would you do if your president asked you for something. And Platini, with his 4 votes, turned everything around,” explains Blatter.
It is recalled that just a few months later, Qatar bought fighter jets from France worth 16.4 billion euros.
“Qatar is a small country that cannot host a normal World Cup,” added Blatter.
Qatar won the host in the last round of voting just against the USA with 14:8. In the previous rounds, the maximum was 11. They were against that much in the beginning, before everything turned upside down.
Voting includes Sepp Blatter (President), Julio Grondona (First Vice President), Issa Hayatou, Chun Mong-jun, Jack Warner, Angel Maria Villar, Michel Platini and Jeff Thompson (Vice Presidents), Michel D’Hoog, Mohammed Bin Hammam, Shenesh Erzik, Chuck Blazer, Voravi Mukadi, Nikolaos Leoz, Yunzhi Ogura, Marios Lefkaridis, Jacques Anouma, Franz Beckenbauer, Rafael Salguero, Hani Abo Rida and Vitaly Mutko (executive committee members).
Of them, 10 people, headed by Sepp Blatter and Platini, were accused of corruption later, after the American Chuck Blazer on his deathbed decided to reveal some machinations in world football.
Blatter himself admits that he will still watch the World Cup, but from his home in Switzerland, although he had an invitation from the Qataris to visit them.
He and Platini were acquitted in the first corruption case that was brought against them. However, the Swiss prosecutor’s office decided to file a second case as well. Other members of the executive committee at the time were sent to prison in the United States after being found guilty.