The decision to give Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup was a “mistake,” according to former Fifa president Sepp Blatter.
When Qatar was given the opportunity to host the event in 2010, Blatter, 86, was still in charge as the president of football’s highest governing body.
For its attitude on same-sex relationships, human rights record, and treatment of migrant labour, the Gulf state has drawn criticism.
“It is too small of a country. Football and the World Cup are too big for it,” he told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger.
In a vote that took place 12 years ago, when Russia was chosen to host the tournament in 2018, Fifa’s executive committee chose Qatar by a margin of 14-8 over the United States.
Blatter claims that he supported the United States in the vote and accuses the then-Uefa president Michel Platini of swaying the outcome in Qatar’s favour.
“It was a bad choice and I was responsible for that as president at the time,” he said.
“Thanks to the four votes of Platini and his [Uefa] team, the World Cup went to Qatar rather than the United States. It’s the truth.”
Blatter also said Fifa had adjusted the criteria used to select host countries in 2012 after concerns were raised about the treatment of migrant workers building World Cup stadiums in Qatar.
“Since then, social considerations and human rights are taken into account,” he added.