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Sepp Blatter Admits FIFA Made Mistake Giving World Cup to Qatar

COSTA DO SAUIPE, BAHIA - DECEMBER 05:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter attends the FIFA Executive Committee Meeting Press Conference during a media day ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw at Costa do Sauipe Resort on December 5, 2013 in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2014

Sepp Blatter has admitted handing Qatar the 2022 World Cup "was a mistake" on Swiss television.

The controversial FIFA president finally acknowledged the thoughts of many by revealing a poor decision was made when granting the Asian nation the summer tournament, as revealed to Swiss station RTS and translated by ITV News:

Of course, it was a mistake. You know, one makes a lot of mistakes in life.

The technical report indicated clearly that it was too hot in summer, but despite that the executive committee decided with quite a big majority that the tournament would be in Qatar.

For those who understand French, the interview can be seen below:

The distant tournament throws up a number of challenges, many of which could have been avoided had FIFA opted for Australia, Japan, South Korea or the United States, all of whom launched bids to secure the competition.

Holly Watt of the Telegraph reports temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, which creates dangerous conditions for both players and supporters. Alongside this, homosexuality is illegal in a the country that is yet to build many of the facilities needed to host such a major competition.

Working conditions have already come under fierce scrutiny, despite the tournament being eight years away. Amnesty International has urged FIFA into taking action against the "abuse of migrant workers," which sees Nepalese builders "treated like cattle," per the Associated Press and via the Huffington Post.

Osama Faisal/Associated Press

Kevin Maguire of the Mirror revealed approximately 1,200 migrant workers have died since the country began its preparations. He indicates this number could rise to 4,000 by the time kick-off arrives, as many "are forced to live in squalor, drink salt water and get paid just 57p an hour."

Pete Pattisson of the Guardian revealed deaths occurred at "almost one a day" during last summer. The treatment of Nepalese workers can officially be dubbed "modern-day slavery" according to International Labour Organisation.

Blatter's omission comes at a key time in his FIFA tenure. The much-criticised 78-year-old recently suggested he will stand for election once again, despite previously indicating he wouldn't, per Swiss newspaper Blick and via Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC.

Former England striker Gary Lineker believes Blatter should take accountability for the decision, which could have easily been avoided:

Lineker also suggests FIFA must better research countries who bid, or at least, not take searing conditions lightly:

While Qatar 2022 poses plenty more problems than just the boiling weather, both Blatter and FIFA may be best to offer a change of host. A winter tournament isn't a good enough solution as it doesn't stop thousands of workers putting their lives at risk during the building process. Less importantly, it would also significantly impact the European football season.

Now Blatter has admitted his mistake, he must act upon it. It would be unforgivable for the leader to stand idly without enforcing major change now he is known to understand the severity of Qatar's problems. In fact, it would be gross negligence.

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