Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his German counterpart Christian Wulff both applied political pressure to their country's FIFA representatives to back Qatar's bid to host the 2022 World Cup, the football body's embattled president Sepp Blatter has claimed in a new interview.
In an interview published on Sunday, Blatter told Welt am Sonntag newspaper that "there were two political interventions" from the former European presidents before the official December 2, 2010 announcement of Qatar's successful bid to host the tournament, AFP reported.
"Messrs Sarkozy and Wulff tried to influence their voting representatives. That's why we now have a World Cup in Qatar. Those who decided it should take responsibility for it," Blatter reportedly said.
"I act on the leadership principal. If a majority of the executive committee wants a World Cup in Qatar then I have to accept that," Blatter said.
He implied that Wulff put pressure on the German football federation (DFB) "to vote for Qatar out of economic interests"
Qatar awarding of hosting duties for the 2022 World Cup has attracted a lot of controversy, mainly due concerns over the hot summer temperature and the conditions for foreign labours building the infrastructure for the tournament, but Blatter hit out at claims of human rights abuses in his latest interview, saying many European companies had happily worked in Qatar before the 2010 announcement.
"Look at the German companies... Deutsche Bahn, Hochtief and many more had projects in Qatar even before the World Cup was awarded," he said.
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