President of Fifa at the time of the awarding of the 2022 World Cup, Sepp Blatter was not in favor of Qatar’s candidacy. The Swiss had a completely different project in mind.
A little less than two months before a controversial World Cup in Qatar, L’Equipe looks back on the day it all started. It was on December 2, 2010 that the organization of the World Cup was awarded to the oil state.
L’Equipe evokes the day of the vote, where Michel Platini and Nicolas Sarkozy had a rather cloudy role, and indicates that the two main leaders of Fifa at the time, Sepp Blatter and Jérôme Valcke, were rather against the candidacy of Qatar . In any case, this is what they assured the investigators who studied the conditions for awarding this World Cup.
Valcke and Blatter didn’t want Qatar
While it was also that day that Russia won the 2018 World Cup, Jérôme Valcke, who was then secretary general of Fifa, hoped for something quite different. “I was more for Great Britain and the United States than for Russia and Qatar, because I was looking for World Cups that were easier to organize in terms of infrastructure, accommodation, transport,” thus assures the former n°2 of Fifa.
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Sepp Blatter had something else in mind. A project that could have enabled him to win… the FIFA Nobel Prize. His idea ? Award the two World Cups, 2018 and 2022, to Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Barack Obama’s United States. By bringing together the two leaders, whose countries have long been opposed during the Cold War, Blatter wanted to strike a blow.
“During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, we started working together with the Nobel Peace Prize Foundation in Oslo, Norway, would have indicated Blatter to the examining magistrates, Virginie Tilmont and Marc Sommerer, writes L’Equipe. At the end of this World Cup, we introduced “Handshake for peace” (a handshake for peace). We had in mind that if, in 2018, it took place in Russia, and in 2022 in North America, we would have two major political players on the international level and with “Handshake for peace”, we would put them together. »
Blatter, Putin’s tribute
The project fell through that day in December 2010, when the United States was beaten by Qatar despite Obama’s presence in Zurich. It was in 2018, under the presidency of Donald Trump, that the USA obtained the organization of the 2026 World Cup, in partnership with Canada and Mexico.
In 2015, Blatter was still congratulated by Putin for his action at the head of Fifa. “Joseph Blatter has done a tremendous job for world football. His contribution in the humanitarian field is colossal (…) This is the person to whom we should give the Nobel Peace Prize”had entrusted the Russian leader.