The disgraced former Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, has claimed that his fellow govt committee (Exco) members ignored advice that Qatar was incapable of hosting a World Cup after they voted to award the competition to the Gulf state.
He alleges Qatar’s shock victory was a mixture of a rule-breaking collusion deal and political pressure exerted on Michel Platini, the French Exco member.
The claims are made in Blatter’s recently printed book Ma Vérité (My Truth), the 82-year-old’s defence of his 17-year reign as Fifa president, which ended with a six-year ban from football.
Blatter says “no one” on the Fifa Exco, which was superseded by the Fifa council in 2016, read the detailed inspection report on the candidate countries, because they’d all already made up their minds.
“If we had read them carefully, we’d have seen that the World Cup could not be played in Qatar,” he writes.
He claims Platini called him to say he had been pressed to change his vote during a lunch in 2010 with Nicolas Sarkozy, then the French president, and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, now the Emir of Qatar. This has always been denied by Platini.
Blatter says: “I have no idea and I don’t want to know if there’s a connection between the Qatar World Cup award and what happened next.” He then notes that the Qataris spent billions of euros in France on an aircraft contract and on buying Paris Saint-Germain football club.