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FIFA World Cup: Blatter calls Qatar award a 'mistake'

FIFA World Cup: Blatter calls Qatar award a ‘mistake’

Blatter criticized the awarding of the World Cup in an interview published on Tuesday with the Swiss newspaper Tagessanziger. “The choice of Qatar was a mistake,” Blatter said. “It’s a very small country – football and the World Cup are very big for that.” Qatar has been the smallest host country since Switzerland in 1954, and some accommodations should be abroad. The elections were bad, and he was responsible for the position of president at the time.

Blatter did not explicitly address the numerous allegations against the emirate. But he criticized his successor, Gianni Infantino. He wonders why he lives in Qatar. Blatter believes that this is very close to the World Cup organizers. “The president of FIFA should be responsible,” he said. “Example: There is a proposal to create a fund for dead and missing workers. Qatar says no. What is FIFA supposed to say when their president is in the same boat with Qatar?”

Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Blatter won the Qatar Prize in 2010

Blatter has repeatedly said that he was in the United States for the 2010 award. The fact that the World Cup finally went to Qatar was due to former European Union president Michel Platini. He is accused of voting for Qatar in December 2010 at the request of then French President Nicolas Sarkozy. It is the first interview for Blatter, who is now 86, since he and Platini were cleared of fraud charges after a seven-year trial.

An uproar about an anti-gay interview

The World Cup kicks off on November 20 and the number of guests from abroad is expected to reach 1.2 million. The preparations are accompanied by many controversies and initiations – from the sometimes disastrous situation of guest workers to the Qatari treatment of minorities, women, and LGBT people.

The Islamic Emirate itself, rich in natural gas, has not only invested in luxury stadiums and new infrastructure, but has also tried to counter human rights claims. Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani recently confirmed that “football fans from all walks of life will be welcomed with open arms.”

It was said at the time that fans from the LGBTQ scene were also welcome. International organizations had urged them not to travel to Qatar, because homosexuality is illegal there and is punishable by up to seven years in prison. But an interview with former soccer player and World Cup ambassador Salman with ZDF raised more doubts about this welcome message. Salman describes homosexuality as “psychological damage”.

Gay “haram”

“A lot of things will come to the country during the World Cup. Let’s talk about gays,” Salman said in an interview with German journalist Jochen Breyer. “The most important thing is that everyone will accept that they come here. “But they have to accept our rules,” the 60-year-old said.

Above all, he has problems when he sees gay children. Because then they will learn something that is not good. Salman said in his view that homosexuality is “haram” (haram): “It is mental harm,” and originally he said “damage to the mind.” Then the interview was interrupted by a spokesman for the World Cup Organizing Committee. In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, journalist Breyer said the filming of the documentary was under the strict supervision of the commission.

Interview with Qatar's ambassador to the World Cup and former national footballer Khaled Salman

ZDF / Mateusz Smolka

Salman used to be an international in Qatar

This came in an interview with the ZDF documentary channel “Geheimsache Qatar”, which will be broadcast on Tuesday evening. Excerpts from Salman’s remarks were already shown in the New York Times on Monday night. In another clip from the trailer, a man from Salman’s house compares the women to candy, justifying their headscarves. “Compare that, you have an unwrapped candy in front of you. You don’t know if someone has touched it or bit it. And one is trapped. Which one do you take?”

Qatar laments “racism”

In the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (Monday Edition), Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani described his country’s criticism, especially from Europe, as “very arrogant and very racist.” Meanwhile, he mentioned the reforms in his country that will continue after the World Cup.

“On the one hand, the German people are misled by government politicians, and on the other hand, the government has no problem with us when it comes to energy partnerships or investments,” the foreign minister said. Between two countries such as Germany and Qatar. Previously, German Interior Minister Nancy Wieser (SPD), who is responsible for first-class sport, caused resentment between Qatar and Germany as they distanced themselves from the World Cup and openly criticized the award.

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