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Blatter: Politicians influenced Qatar 2022 vote

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has claimed that European politicians put pressure on FIFA members to vote for Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

UEFA president Michel Platini, who is eyeing a run at FIFA’s top job, is the only FIFA member to have admitted that he voted for Qatar. Platini has always maintained that he was not influenced by then French president Nicolas Sarkozy to vote in favour of Qatar 2022 in order to aid trade deals with the Gulf state.

Blatter told Die Zeit: “Yes, definitely there were direct political influences. European leaders recommended to their voting members to vote for Qatar, because they have great economic interests with this country.”

Sarkozy had invited Platini to a dinner with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani before the 2010 vote, but the UEFA president said in a statement in January: “To believe that my choice to vote for Qatar 2022 was in exchange for agreements between the French state and Qatar is pure speculation and are only the views of those who write these lies.

“I have therefore made my choice independently, following a simple logic that I have always advocated: openness to countries that have never hosted major sporting events. I reserve the right to sue anyone who questions my integrity in this vote.”